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Canada is Helping to Improve the Livelihoods of Small-Scale African farmers

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Minister Paradis announces support that will increase African farmers’ access to local, regional and international markets

May 3, 2014 - Ottawa, Ontario - Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced Canada’s contribution to a project entitled Enhancing Farmers’ Access to Markets in East and West Africa ($10.3 million over five years), implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The announcement was made during a meeting with Ambassadors and High Commissioners of African countries, and highlights Canada's continued commitment to advancing economic growth in Africa.

The project aims to improve the livelihoods of small-scale African farmers by increasing their access to local, regional and international markets. Farmers will receive support with adopting and meeting international trade standards, thus improving their agricultural practices and the quality of their produce. Also, farmers will be integrated in key activities along the producer-to-buyer supply chain, in partnership with the private sector, using techniques such as contract farming.

"Canada is a leader in advancing economic growth in Africa, including the development of the agriculture sector," said Minister Paradis. "By gaining better access to more markets and improving their agricultural practices, farmers have better chances to become more competitive and productive, and to see their incomes increase. We are helping them—by engaging the private sector—to turn agriculture from a subsistence or low-yield activity into a viable business proposition. Ultimately, the livelihoods of farmers and their families will improve, and their communities will benefit."

"This Canada and IFC partnership in Africa's agribusiness sector will enhance farmers’ ability to bring their goods to market," said Jean-Philippe Propser, IFC Vice-President for sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean. "This new partnership is one of many we are creating in Africa to strengthen IFC's impact on inclusive private sector development and further Canada's involvement in the region's development priorities."

Quick Facts

There are an estimated 33 million smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa, which contribute up to 90 percent of food production in some countries. Most farmers, the vast majority of them women, either practice subsistence farming or operate mainly in local markets.

DFATD’s Food Security Strategy places a special emphasis on women and smallholder farmers, since a large proportion of agricultural production is attributable to women in developing countries, thereby making them important agents of economic development and food security.

By supporting the development of the agricultural sector, Canada is contributing to reduce hunger, poverty, and malnutrition. Reducing malnutrition is a foundation to healthy lives for mothers and children in developing countries. Prime Minister Harper is hosting the high-level Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Summit on May 28–30, 2014.