Assistance for more than a million small farmers

08.09.2015 – On behalf of the German Government, GIZ is improving the living conditions of small farmers and their families in Africa and Asia. The aim is to improve harvests and prevent hunger.

According to the UN, the world’s poorest people live in rural areas: small farmers and their families who harvest little. Once they have used their reserves, they go hungry. Since 2010 the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has supported more than a million small farmers to raise their harvests and generate more income for themselves and their families. On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ has achieved this by cooperating with private-sector and public-sector partners in Africa and Asia. The success is based on the initiatives launched by BMZ, including green innovation centres and the German Food Partnership, in which around 30 private businesses participate.

GIZ helps small farmers harvest more rice, for instance. They are trained in modern farming methods, how to use improved seed and how to apply plant protection agents correctly. Many farmers still do not use these products safely. Training educates them to use lower amounts, pay more attention to the composition of the products they use, and protect themselves when applying the products. All training is product-neutral, and only products that are licensed for use in Europe and in Germany are recommended.

In Indonesia, activities of this sort have helped small farmers raise their income by 40 per cent while using 20 per cent less fertiliser. Farmers now produce higher quality produce and pose less of a risk to the environment. In Kenya too, GIZ is helping to produce more food locally, because the country currently imports about half of its daily requirements. The country’s second staple food, the potato, is becoming increasingly important. German support has helped increase Kenya’s potato harvest four-fold.

Private businesses have also contributed expertise and materials, such as seed, fertiliser or machinery adapted to suit local fields, which are often small. However, GIZ only involves these companies if they play by a clear set of rules. These include ensuring product neutrality and allowing the freedom to choose between different cropping methods and production inputs. Cooperation only blossoms when corporate interests help achieve the development objectives of the German Government.