FAO and Rabobank Foundation will scale up their collaboration
In 2013, FAO and Rabobank Foundation began a partnership by collaborating on three projects in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya, all oriented to improving smallholder farmers' incomes, access to financial tools and ability to invest in more efficient production of food crops. Building on the progress achieved so far, we now intend to scale up the pilot projects and establish similar collaborations in other countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
Successful pilots in Africa
The three initial joint projects in Africa all focus on boosting food security through rural agricultural development. In Tanzania, FAO and Rabobank Foundation are supporting access to financial services by organizations representing rice farmers in the Morogoro district. Greater yields from a new FAO-backed cultivation system are providing the incentive to invest in warehouses, which will allow farmers to store their output and sell it when seasonal prices are higher. In Kenya, farmers working within a conservation agriculture project will have better access to loans in the form of seeds thanks to an initiative being developed by both partners. In Ethiopia, we are working with local microfinance lenders to select rural farming cooperatives that can tap into value chains, generating more jobs.
A partnership with FAO helps us to accomplish our mission: providing small-scale farmers access to finance, knowledge and markets in developing countries. "We believe that working together with an organization like FAO can accelerate the realization of our mutual goals," says Pierre van Hedel, managing director of Rabobank Foundation. "We highly appreciate FAO's long-term commitment and vision with regard to the topic of food security, which is needed for smallholder development." Director-General of FAO, José Graziano da Silva, is very positive about the partnership and keen on enlarging it.
"This is a flagship partnership for FAO"
At the Food First conference recently held in Utrecht at Rabobank’s office, Da Silva also met our Chairman Wiebe Draijer and Executive Board member Berry Marttin. They agreed to work together on initiatives aimed at increasing access to seeds for smallholders in Africa and on increasing local purchases from family farmer cooperatives. They also agreed that FAO and Rabobank Foundation will jointly explore ways to support more data and information sharing through mobile technology and to increase young farmers' access to technology in general.