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FAO Mulls Over Potential Business Models For Small Scale Farmers

THE Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) is analysing different business models for adoption by small scale agricultural producers.

By Farai Mabeza

This was revealed by FAO’s subregional coordinator for Southern Africa, Patrick Kormawa, at an international symposium held on in Harare.

The symposium was organised by the Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies (SMAIAS), the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and FAO.

“FAO is analysing contract farming, public purchase programs and collective marketing arrangements as some of the potential inclusive business models.

“Contract farming is being analysed because it has the potential to improve family farmers’ access to markets and boost their incomes while ensuring that agribusinesses have a stable supply of produce that meets their quality standards. Furthermore, analysing collective organization is important because it gives smallholders a stronger negotiation power in the market,” Kormawa said.

 The symposium was organised to promote policy dialogue, knowledge generation and evidence gathering on contract farming and other inclusive business models as approaches that have the potential to promote responsible agricultural investment.

“The symposium brings together buyers (agribusiness) and farmers (producer organizations) of various value chains, or commodities, in order to enhance discussions on how to improve contracts using the CFS-RAI (Committee on World Food Security – Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems), the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains and the FAO policy on contract farming,” Kormawa said.

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Inclusive business models are a sustainable way of promoting responsible investment by the private sector because in most cases they ensure that the private sector does not compete with smallholders’ land and other natural resources.

In 2016, FAO launched the Umbrella Programme “Supporting Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems” which aims to support and engage all relevant actors – governments, small-scale producers, civil society organizations and the private sector – in order to enhance responsible agricultural investment.

As the majority of the world’s poor and food insecure live in rural areas of developing countries, agriculture and rural development are key to the achievement of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.

Unfortunately, the agricultural sector suffers from serious underinvestment, hence, neither a world free of hunger nor one free of poverty can be achieved by 2030 without a substantial increase in public and private investments in agriculture and food systems.


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