Report of the Brussels Seminar - Day 2

Report of the Brussels Seminar - Day 2


Day 2 - Enhance trust and build relationships

During the sessions of day 2 representatives from the finance and agrifood sectors talked about their expectations regarding farmers’ organizations and their contributions to building long-lasting relationships. In the break-out sessions specialists from finance providers, the agrifood sector and the capacity-building field reflected on the tools and instruments used by farmers’ organisations to enhance trust.

Mark Blackett, director VECO East Africa.

What can VECO offer to farmer organisations, food industry and financial institutions?

“VECO has been working for 40 years to support smallholders across three continents to obtain a better deal in many different value chains. This knowledge has enabled us to understand the perspectives of each value chain actor and understand market dynamics in a variety of value chains. We aim to offer services throughout the value chain which lead to sustainable business development. As a result VECO provides services that offer added value to different organisations.”

Lucas Simons, CEO SCOPEinsight

“Professional farmers can increase production levels in a sustainable way, benefit from more business opportunities and provide better livelihoods for everyone involved. Professionalism and entrepreneurship are the keys to transforming agricultural markets. SCOPEinsight provides innovative assessment tools that define farmer professionalism and make it measurable and actionable for you.”

Dieter Fischer, Senior Operations Officer in the Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services group at the International Finance Corporation.

Financing business farmer organisations: a challenge?

Goal - build a sustainable pipeline of professional farmers who are aggregated into effective producer organizations Current state:

  • Smallholder farmers lack financing for inputs and farm investments, especially replanting
  • Globally, less than 10% of farmers belong to producer organizations
  • Many existing producer organizations lack capacity to serve their members effectively, which makes them poor partners for agribusiness

Future state:

  • Farms increase productivity and become more resilient
  • Smallholder farmers are aggregated through producer organizations or agents
  • Producer organizations serve their members and add value to crops, through increase access to finance

Hans- Willem Van der Waal, CEO of AgroFair Europe BV 20 years building trust in small farmer banana business

  • The gap between what is required and what is available must not be too big.
  • The success of small farmer banana cooperatives in Latin America was that human resources and industry-specific skills were amply available.
  • AgroFair has its own support team – AgroFair South – with embedded quality surveyors, con-sultants and specialists, frequent visits – but we do not take over the responsibility of the coop.
  • There is a limit to support. The industry is dynamic, organizations that cannot keep the pace in spite of support, will disappear from our chain. So there is also some dynamic turnover of suppliers.
  • Tendency towards well-managed farms, small farmers need to be aware and collaborate – joint land management, purchasing, marketing, collaborate with nucleus farm.

Jaap-Jan Verboom, Director Agribusiness Booster, ICCO Cooperation

Working with famer organizations: a practitioner’s experience.

“In our experience the Scope Insight assessment tools are gender neutral and consequently rather gender blind. If one wants to ensure that women have equal opportunities in producers organizations and value chains, a more gender proactive approach is needed, to assess the specific gender based constraints in producer organizations as well as value chains which are often rather male dominated.”

The principal conclusions of day 2

To build trust

  • Assess your professionalism
  • Build on your capacity
  • Connect with your network

Financial sector

Top: a deal does not pop up out of the blue: relationships

Tip: limited common vision how financial system in South can take over

Food & retail sector

Top: from more than business to just business

Tip: which capacity building for whom by whom

Farmer businesses

Top: understand your market and how your business fits in

Tip: plant capacity building seed in fertile ground