Mr. Hans van der Merwe, Executive Director of Agri SA, South Africa, presented the experience of his organisation in development of farming and the capacity building of farmers through commodity associations. The objective was to achieve sustainable, profitable participation in commercial agriculture. Through 64 projects, the 27 commodity associations of Agri SA are developing skills that ‘open doors’. Programs include: study groups, partnerships in the value chain and a partnerships between commercial and small-scale farmers. 72 percent of these projects were deemed to be good or excellent.
Mr. Van der Merwe stressed that a holistic approach needs to be taken to development. Market access is not a challenge on its own, he said, it must go hand in hand with the development of infrastructure, access to resources, financing, meeting quality standards and other skills development.
The IFAP President emphasized that commodity associations were a profitable and sustainable way for farmers to organize themselves, as the South African experience has demonstrated. IFAP will pursue this with AgriCord with a view to having a program for developing agriculture through commodity associations.
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