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Contract Farming: Training workshop held in Tonga

30/11/2017 Nuku'alofa, Tonga

The Government of Tonga and FAO are furthering their partnership to promote contract farming as a means to coordinate links between farmers and agribusiness firms.
A Contract Farming training workshop on – planning and implementing Contract Farming operations in Tonga – was held in September in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. The training included a half day field visit.
A total of 23 participants (including 10 from outer islands) from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Forests, Ministry of Ministry of Commerce, Consumer, Trade, Innovation and Labor, private sector actors, farmers and farmers’ group organization actively participated in this training workshop.
FAO Agribusiness Consultant, Shukrullah Sherzard said. “Contract farming is one of the proven mechanisms that can be promoted to improve efficiency and inclusiveness in transforming food and agriculture systems.”
In simple terms, contract farming is an agreement which establishes conditions between a buyer and farmers for the production and marketing of a farm product or products.
Under contract farming, producers commit to the future delivery of farm products to a buyer under agreed specifications that can include prices, production technologies, quality characteristics and production delivery dates, among other mutually agreed conditions.
In theory, the agreement should be mutually beneficial to a buyers and farmers. It should promote agricultural production and guarantee a secure market for the products, thereby allowing farmers to earn increased revenue and buyers to obtain a return on their investments.
Sherzard further explained. “Through FAO projects we aim to improve the capacity of farmers to market a consistent supply of safe, quality food. One of the outputs of this project is to facilitate improved farmer linkages to market though the adoption of service contracts”.
A half day field visit was organized to papaya plantations on the last day of the workshop. Members of GroFed and stakeholders involved in Contract Farming with GroFed shared experiences and a case study of papaya Contract Farming from the field with participants.
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