Canada helps to improve small-scale African farmers’ livelihoods

Canada’s minister of international development, Christian Paradis, announced this month that the country would assist in supporting a project expected to increase African farmers’ access to local, regional and international markets.The announcement was made during a meeting with ambassadors and high commissioners of African countries. The project, ‘Enhancing Farmers’ Access to Markets in East and West Africa’ was implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). It is a five-yearlong programme estimated at $10 million (R105 million).
It aims to improve the livelihoods of small-scale African farmers. Farmers will receive support in adopting and meeting
international trade standards, thus improving their agricultural practices and the quality of their produce. Farmers will
also be integrated in key activities along the producer-to-buyer supply chain, in partnership with the private sector, using
techniques such as contract farming.
“Canada is a leader in advancing economic growth in Africa, including the development of the agriculture sector,” Paradis said.
He explained that by gaining better access to more markets and improving their agricultural practices, farmers have better chances to become more competitive and productive, and will see their incomes increase. “We are helping them by engaging
the private sector, to turn agriculture from a subsistence or low-yield activity into a viable business proposition. Ultimately, the livelihoods of farmers and their families will improve, and their communities will benefit.”
According to Jean-Philippe Propser, the IFC vice-president for sub-Saharan Africa, the partnership between Canada and the IFC in Africa’s agribusiness sector will enhance farmers’ ability to bring their goods to market.
“This new partnership is one of many we are creating in Africa to strengthen the IFC’s impact on inclusive private sector development and further Canada’s involvement in the region’s development.”
There are an estimated 33 million smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa,which contribute up to 90% of food production in some countries. Most farmers, the vast majority of them women, either practise subsistence farming or operate mainly
in local markets.
– Foreign Affairs Trade and Development Canada; www.international.gc.ca