AMSTERDAM- -Access to finance has been identified as a major obstacle for small holder farmers, especially in least developed countries. Seeking to address the matter directly, the Executive Board approved a credit guarantee scheme in the coffee sector covering Ethiopia and Rwanda.
The Board also approved financing for four other projects with market access components for the cattle livestock, smallholder dairy; organic bananas and soybeans. In a number of these projects, the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) is contributing financing for the benefit of LDCs. For the coffee project, the Common Fund is also partnering with the Netherlands-based Rabobank Foundation, with the organization acting as co-financier for the project.
The Managing Director, in his remark to the Board, said, “The total cost of the five projects covering nine countries is USD 22.1 million with the Common Fund contributing USD 9.4 million.”
Projects approved by the 49th Executive Board session:
Ethiopia and Rwanda: Sustainable Credit Guarantee Scheme to Promote Scaling up of Enhanced Coffee Processing Practices. (Total cost: USD 8 million/CFC: USD 1.24 (grant) USD 2.0 million (loan guarantee)/ (OFID: USD 600,000) / co-financing: Rabobank Foundation USD 171, 780 (grant) USD 4.25 million (loan) Rabobank and local banks; counterpart contributions: USD 351.250.)
Mozambique and Zambia: Improving Productivity and Market Access of Smallholders Cattle Farmers. (Total cost: USD 1.79 million/CFC: USD 999,000 (grant) (OFID: USD 500,000) /counterpart contribution USD 799.000.)
Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand: Improving the Bargaining Power and Sustainable Livelihood of Smallholder Dairy Farmers through the Enhanced Productivity and Market Access in Dairy. (Total cost: USD 7.23 million/CFC: USD 1.9 million (grant)/ (OFID: USD 1.0 million) /FAO co-financing: USD 408,901/APHCA USD 100,000/counterpart contributions: In-kind-USD 364,275 (Bangladesh), USD 364,275 (Myanmar), USD 4.0 million (Thailand.)
China: Promoting Production and Marketing of Organic Bananas in Asia. (Total cost: USD 2.28 million/CFC: 1.4 million (grant)/co-financing: USD 880,000.)
Southern and Eastern Africa: Soybean Development. (Total cost: USD 2.79 million/CFC: USD 1.79 million/counterpart contributions: USD 1.03 million.)
The coffee project has several components targeting the provision and access to financial services to enable smallholder producers to scale up processing practices to improve production and quality; capacity development and use of market information; and through training to strengthen farmers’ cooperatives and unions.
Support for smallholder cattle farmers aims to improve productivity and quality of beef cattle through a range of interventions such as feed and veterinary services, technical training and advisory activities, as well as the development of business skills, entrepreneurship and linkages with private industry sector involved in beef processing and trade. The project will focus on nearly 2000 traditional farmers, currently with little access to modern technologies and services.
In South-east Asia, the smallholder dairy development project Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand, will meet the expressed priorities identified by the national governments; and has a regional dimension in terms of being the foundation of a potential Asian network for smallholder dairy development activities. Over the past 25 years, regional milk consumption has grown steadily to about 250 million tonnes in 2008. Direct beneficiaries, with a sizeable gender element, include nearly 5000 smallholder farm families, who will partake in equal opportunity training activities, as well as extending the same to young people through upgraded national dairy training centre (DTC) facilities in schools and colleges. Also envisaged, is outreach to all stakeholders within the value chain, policymakers and private sector representatives, who could provide productivity-enhancing goods, services and market access. For the participating countries, the project represents the positive elements in South-South cooperation, information exchange and shared best practices.
China has been growing bananas for years and as an important fruit crop, with year-round production output, it is a good source of nutrition, vitamins, energy and as a source of income. The organic banana project will support the establishment of grower associations, certification standards, marketing and postharvest for entry into local and export markets and capacity in business and management skills for growers and their associations. It has specific objectives to increase export and share of organic banana in three provinces within China; enhancing linkages with stakeholders in the supply chain, including R&D organizations; and to increase the competitiveness of the organic banana sector in Asia and in the global market.
As one of the fastest growing commercial crop, soybean production and market in the Africa region has been lagging behind relative to Latin and North America. In Malawi and Mozambique, beneficiaries of the soybean project would be small-holder farmers. The project will promote the integration of subsistence farmers into the market economy by linking them with end-user industries. The project will also establish demonstration processing plants for intermediate industrial raw materials directed at market opportunities for soybean-based food and other nutritional products. It is expected that the project can authenticate CFC’s catalytic niche and create opportunities for the uptake of the soybean value chain to benefit small-scale operators, so that they can increase income potential in two of the poorest countries in Africa. [END/2010].