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Small farmers, big business
June 22nd, 2010

Three hundred bright minds from business and industry, science, governments, NGOs and farmers’ organisations, recently met in Brussels at an international conference called “The Art of Farming”. They explored the potential of sustainable business models that include small-scale farmers. Is this too good to be true? Three hundred bright minds from business and industry, science, … Read moreSmall farmers, big business

Opinion: Stop land grabs
June 22nd, 2010

More than 124 million acres of land has been acquired by foreign investors responding to global food shortages, fluctuating oil prices and growing water shortages. The phenomenon is being exacerbated by the EU’s mandate that 10 percent of all transport fuel should be sourced from plant-based biofuels by 2015. But land grabs and food aid … Read moreOpinion: Stop land grabs

Making farmers bankable
June 22nd, 2010

A new approach to upscaling agricultural finance for the missing middle. New risk-profiling approaches offer the promise of helping the “missing middle”: farmers who are too small to attract loans or be of interest to commercial banks, and too large to benefit from microfinance institutes. Many farmers in developing countries are too big to get … Read moreMaking farmers bankable

Two views: Should farmers get paid for providing ecosystem services?
June 22nd, 2010

The International Year of Biodiversity gives us a good opportunity look at agriculture’s relation with biodiversity. One proposed mechanism to stimulate environmentally friendly farming is PES, or Payments for Environmental Services. Can PES help conserve biodiversity? How can such a mechanism be implemented? Farmers’ fields make up 40 percent of the earth’s land mass and … Read moreTwo views: Should farmers get paid for providing ecosystem services?

Trade finance. Money when it is needed
June 22nd, 2010

Finance is a key for maintaining committed trading relationships. Value Chain Finance helps farmers’ organisations bridge the “payment gap” between harvest and export. Recent and expected future growth rates for both the organic and fair trade markets reflect a growing consumer awareness of global trade issues and a wish to consume sustainably, along ethical and … Read moreTrade finance. Money when it is needed

Call for contributions: Partnerships for learning
June 22nd, 2010

Farmers learn continuously; they carry out experiments and regularly develop new ways of farming. In many cases, they are supported by projects or programmes that seek to enhance this learning. But farmers and extensionists are not the only players in the field. Researchers and policy makers also play a key role, as do farmers’ organisations, … Read moreCall for contributions: Partnerships for learning

Reading up on agricultural and rural finance
June 22nd, 2010

Adding value to livestock diversity: Marketing to promote local breeds and improve livelihoods Evelyn Mathias (ed.), 2010. LPP and LIFE Network / FAO, 142 pages. Downloadable at: http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/i1283e/i1283e.pdf Many livestock breeds found all over the world, such as Bactrian camels in Mongolia, or Umzimvubu goats in South Africa, are specifically adapted to local conditions. They … Read moreReading up on agricultural and rural finance

Learning about … Rural finance
June 22nd, 2010

What exactly is microfinance and how does it work? How can you make a budget and why is it important to save? How can you set up a farmers’ cooperative, village bank or self-help group? The Rural Finance Learning Centre helps you to find answers to these questions. A lot of valuable training materials about … Read moreLearning about … Rural finance

Inspired by … Documentation and organisational scaling up
June 22nd, 2010

How reading a manual on documenting experiences led to a new lobbying tool – Wirsiy Eric Fondzenyuy works for CENDEP, the Centre for Nursery Development and Eru Propagation, in Cameroon. At the end of last year he contacted ileia, wanting to share the results of their documentation efforts. This is part of their story. Farming … Read moreInspired by … Documentation and organisational scaling up

Locally rooted: Ideas and initiatives from the field
June 22nd, 2010

Many farmers, in the same way as the organisations that support them, are trying out innovative ways to secure the financial recources they need. These are only a few examples of the many interesting ideas and practices seen in the field. Farming Matters | 26.2 | June 2010 Malawi: Better decision-making processes Re-investment in the … Read moreLocally rooted: Ideas and initiatives from the field