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FAO, Rabobank renew partnership to help African farmers

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Rabobank signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to renew their partnership to boost productivity for small farmers

The partnership, which began in 2013, has helped small-scale farmers and cooperatives in developing countries become economically independent.

In Tanzania, the partners helped rice and cassava producer groups realise an eightfold increase in productivity by improving water, labour, storage and credit practices.

In Ethiopia, the FAO and Rabobank worked with local microfinance lenders to create jobs for the youth, while another project was focussed on helping local cooperatives by promoting conservation agriculture in Kenya.

"Cooperatives and other associations are the only way for providing family farmers with technical assistance, capacity building, financial resources and access to modern technologies," he said. "They are also important to promote closer cooperation between farmers and research institutions, to help smaller farmers gain a voice in policy-making and to provide extension and advisory services to their members," FAO director-general José Graziano da Silva, said.

Graziano da Silva said that investments in infrastructure such as roads and storage capacity would help to connect producers, agro-industrial processors and other segments of the value chains.

He also called for an "urbanization of rural areas" to better provide education, health, electricity, and internet access.