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FAO and Rabobank Foundation: Joint efforts yield successes in East Africa

FAO Director-General and Rabobank Vice President discuss improving information for small-scale farmers

21/10/2015 - 

21 October 2015, Rome - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and Rabobank Vice President Berry Marttin, met today for discussions that focused on the partnership between the UN agency and the financial institution aimed at helping small-scale farmers in East Africa.

FAO and the Rabobank Foundation began their collaboration in 2013 and Marttin, describing it as a “great partnership” said “it was very important that when we started we already had things that we could do together, specially working with small farmers.”

The partnership involves projects in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, all oriented towards improving smallholder farmers' incomes, access to financial tools, and ability to invest in more efficient production of food crops.

Marttin noted that the Rabobank Foundation and FAO shared a common global objective: “We need to feed 9 billion people by 2050 with nutritious food produced in a sustainable way. This will not only come from big producers but also from the small producers”.

Next steps: information, youth and knowledge exchange

An important next step in the partnership centres on finding ways to improve small-scale farmer’s access to better information. To that end Marttin explained that Rabobank and FAO are already exploring ways to use mobile phones and other technology. “We want to make sure that the farmer has the right information to make the right decisions”, he said.

He noted that other areas where FAO and Rabobank are exploring joint efforts include initiatives aimed at ensuring that young people remain on farms and find work in the agriculture sector so as to improve food security and livelihoods.

Marttin also said that experts from FAO and Rabobank plan to organize joint-knowledge-sharing groups aimed at sharing expertise and best practices.