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Tuesday, 06 September 2016

UN calls for more funding for organic farming in Africa

The United Nations has called for increased funding for organic farming in Africa, saying it has rich potential but is increasingly under-funded. A survey conducted by the UN Conference on Trade and Development revealed on Monday in Rome that organic farming offers an excellent and lucrative export opportunity for Africa. It noted in a survey that access to finance is harder to come by than five years ago. In the survey, 64 per cent of organic farmers, exporters, and experts from 16 African countries said the situation had not changed while 23 per cent said they felt that access to financing had become more restrictive in the last five years. Malick Kane and Henrique Pacini, authors of the survey said that the most critical areas in terms of the need for external funding highlighted by stakeholders in organic agriculture were certification and marketing, and the purchase of equipment. They said it also include the organisation of smallholder farmers into production groups. Kane noted that while established organic exports like coffee and cocoa benefited most from the access to finance, the survey noted that crops like organic pineapples, mangoes, bananas and even potatoes have enormous export potential. Kane said: “Our work 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.

Source: theeagleonline.com.ng