IFAD urges farmers to up their game
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has outlined certain measures local farmers can follow to achieve their potential of emerging as the backbone of Botswana’s food system.
Addressing farmers on Monday during the United Nations Food Systems National Framers Day, IFAD-UN Country Director responsible for Lesotho, Namibia, and Botswana, Phillip Baumgartner told his audience they are ‘the most important entrepreneurs.
He encouraged farmers to formalize relations, have legal structures in place, and establish apex bodies.
“On top of that, you should increase investments in working capital, buildings, and structures through, among others, data innovation and better governance,” said Baumgartner.
He further urged the farmers to ‘own the value chain’ and increase critical service provision, stressing this could be achieved through the formation of cooperatives and joint ventures.
According to Baumgartner, there should be increased cooperation and better organisation along the farming value-chain for better buying, selling, and attracting insurances.
Baumgartner also pointed out the food system has been heavily disrupted and human infectious diseases have long been considered to be an especially severe burden in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
He noted that diseases such as HIV/AIDS and lately Covid-19 have had a major impact on the food system in SSA.
IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized agency of the UN dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger
It provides low-interest loans and grants to developing countries, giving out an estimated US$23.2 billion to 518 million people since 1978.
IFAD is dedicated to supporting smallholder farmers in transforming agriculture, rural economies, and food systems.
It aims to achieve this by increasing its productivity and access to markets.
It also creates jobs and promotes rural economic growth and increases incomes from these communities to move out of poverty and improves their food and nutrition security.