Foundations and international donors can play a greater role in providing assistance to scale-up ecological farming initiatives in Africa, according to a report released today by Greenpeace Africa. The report entitled Financing Ecological Farming in Africa – a Guide for International Donors spells out the crucial financial, technical, capacity and network-building support that donors can provide.
Over recent years there has been an upsurge of investment into the agriculture sector in developing countries by governments, development co-operation agencies, philanthropies and the private sector. But more needs to be done.
“The donor community must be more courageous in its support of Africa’s small-scale farmers,” said Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo, ahead of a meeting in Milan of the European Foundation Centre, at which he will be giving the closing address. “Foundations and donor organisations should seek out and invest in ecological farming initiatives that value the crucial role of farmers, promote food resilience in times of climate change and contribute to better rural livelihoods.”
The Greenpeace guide builds upon the mounting body of evidence that achieving long-lasting improvements in the livelihoods of small-scale farmers in East Africa and the rest of the world requires building ecological farming systems that create new livelihood opportunities, improve productivity, improve food and nutritional security and provide greater resilience against the impacts of climate change.
The guide, that follows an earlier Greenpeace report entitled “Fostering Economic Resilience – The financial Benefits of Ecological Farming in Kenya and Malawi”, highlights that with successful donor innovations and interventions farmers can increase yields significantly, on average by 79% across a wide variety of crops.
“A major shift in donor financing towards more ecological and climate resilient forms of agriculture is required to end the detrimental impacts of destructive agriculture,” said Naidoo. “This can break the cycle of dependency on large quantities of chemical fertilisers and pesticides and address the multiple challenges facing small-scale producers.”
Greenpeace Africa is calling on governments and the community of financial donors to support small-scale farmers through four primary channels that include: research and training institutions; community seed banks and exchange networks; public procurement schemes; and producer organisations and co-operatives.