NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
The UN has called for increased funding
for organic farming in Africa, which, it said, has rich
potential but is increasingly under-funded.
conducted by the UN Conference on Trade and Development
(UNCTAD) revealed on Monday that organic farming offers
an excellent and lucrative export opportunity for
Africa, but access to finance is harder to come by than
five years ago.
survey, 64 percent of organic farmers, exporters, and
experts from 16 African countries said the situation had
not changed while 23 percent said they felt that access
to financing had become more restrictive in the last
our survey, the most critical areas in terms of the need
for external funding highlighted by stakeholders in
organic agriculture were certification, the organization
of smallholder farmers into production groups,
marketing, and the purchase of equipment,” Malick Kane
and Henrique Pacini, two experts wrote in the report.
established organic exports like coffee and cocoa
benefit most from the access to finance, the UNCTAD
survey notes that crops like organic pineapples,
mangoes, bananas and even potatoes have enormous export
highlights the fact that limited credit-guarantee
mechanisms and insufficient capacity of commercial banks
to integrate the specifics of organic agriculture are
major hindrances on the ability of organic farmers and
exporters to finance their activities in Africa,” said
“Unfortunately these are precisely the areas for which
respondents said financing was becoming scarcer,” added
the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), funding
for Africa’s agriculture in general has come under
pressure in recent years, falling to an average of 2.7
percent of national budgets in 2013.
happened despite a 2003 African Union commitment to
allocate 10 percent of national budgets to this area.
Also, the share of commercial credit made available for
agriculture in Africa fell to an average of 2.8 percent
in the same year, while the global average is 5.8
organic farmers looking for financing have seen knock-on
effects, despite the premiums they can charge to export
their goods to lucrative rich markets.
“In view of
the current situation, we strongly advocate for a
coordinated effort to improve the data collected about
both the domestic and export value of organic products
so that a better business case for organic agriculture
can be made in Africa,” Pacini said.