With the closure of the Food Trade Eastern and Southern Africa in April 2018, it is a good time to reflect on the success delivered.
The programme assisted 554,363 farmers in reaching new or improved storage and aggregation facilities – a huge factor in reducing post-harvest losses, which, for some farmers can cut annual profits by as much as half. This was in part achieved through linkages with 147 certified warehouses and to 66 village aggregation centres (VACs). 452,380 smallholders are benefiting from improved grades and standards applied to their products through improved value chain coordination. And 189,076 farmers are now accessing improved market information systems.
Linkages developed across the network of grantees working within the Farmer Aggregation Mechanism (FAM) system have further resulted in 237,530 farmers accessing improved inputs, giving smallholders a huge boost towards increasing quality and quantity of produce. Enjoying better coordination, improved agricultural practices and post-harvest handling, and quality seeds and fertilisers, participating farmers have seen an on average increase of 21% on farm gate prices. This literally puts more money in the pockets of smallholder farmers and their families, and is a great stride towards improved food security in the region.
During the past 18 months of the programme, we strengthened our focus on closing the gender gap that exists in the industry. The implementation of our gender inclusion strategy showed almost immediate results in moving women up the value chains. At programme close out, 44% of farmers benefiting from FoodTrade resources were women, and we have been incredibly pleased to see so many of our grantee partners welcome this vital aspect of our programme.
Our policy overlay has been unique to FoodTrade, and our work through Policy Advisory Forums and other individuals and bodies placed to strategically influence trade policies has reaped impressive results that are key factors in the long term sustainability of our work.
As a result, FoodTrade leaves a legacy of success by improving small holder farmer participation in staple food value chains. Grantee initiatives have influenced other firms to do the same, through the process of adoption, thereby benefiting many people who were not directly involved in the programme.
Yet there continues to be a need for action to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers through their engagement in improved farmer aggregation mechanisms and trading systems. Further commercialisation of food production, access to finance and investment, and an improved policy framework remain as priorities; however, this must be done in a way that ensures equitable and inclusive growth.
Indeed, FoodTrade has helped launch grantees and beneficiaries on a growth trajectory and initiated systemic change necessary to achieve greater results in the future, and the journey continues. For a more detailed summary, please click here (LINK).