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Inadequate financing hampers Africa
smallholders’ ability to improve production

KIGALI, (Xinhua) -- Africa’s smallholder farmers are responsible for the majority of the continent’s food production, however their production efforts are hindered by the lack of access to adequate financing, experts said Thursday.

They were speaking at a session panel “the business case for agriculture” on the sidelines of 2018 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in the Rwandan capital Kigali.

The event running from Sept. 5 to 8 seeks to harness new pathways to turn African smallholders into future agribusinesses.

“Agriculture, especially small-scale farming plays a vital part in food security in African economies, however, smallholders lack funds to scale up and modernize their farming systems,” said Fokko Wientjes, vice president of Nutrition in Emerging Markets and Food Systems Transformation at DSM, a Dutch based science company active in health and nutrition.

He noted that to achieve growth in Africa’s agricultural sector, key stakeholders from the public and private sectors must come together to ensure that farmers, most especially smallholders access finances to improve their farming practices.

Jennifer Blanke, vice president of agriculture, human and social development at the African Development Bank (AfDB), said that micro-financing remains a vital source of capital for agricultural producers, however, smallholder farmers are unable to access them due to lack of collateral.

“Inadequate financing for agriculture has been cited as a major impediment to smallholder farmers in Africa. It’s time for African governments and the private sector to support farmers to access agricultural finance,” she added.

According to Sarah Metcalf, head of the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) Rwanda, lack of financing threatens the growth of commercial farming among farmers in Africa.

“Many small-scale farmers in Africa are finding it difficult to realize their agribusiness potential due to lack of information and access to development financing models,” she said.

The percentage of smallholders with access to finance such as value chain finance, are reaching fewer than 10 percent of smallholders, primarily those in well-established value chains dedicated to higher value cash crops, according to World Bank Group. 


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