Biofuel Industry News

  • Smallholder farmers cannot get involved in export markets

Smallholder farmers cannot get involved in export markets, according to UN

Feb 28 2013 Read 640 Times

Small-scale farmers are being left out of large export markets, according to a new report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The biofuel analysis report has suggested that small farmers are being sidelined in biofuel schemes which develop an energy source without having to destroy forests and various ecosystems. This is due to small farmers not being able to achieve certification, which improves a business’ presence within the supply chain, because of the certification system being more targeted towards larger corporations. With certification requiring costs and being on a voluntary basis, many small farmers cannot afford such accreditation and therefore are left out of the market.

The ‘Biofuels and the Sustainability Challenge' report, which was developed by the FAO, states: “As structured, these schemes would tend to favour big players and provide incentives for scaling up production to absorb certification costs.”

Furthermore, small farmers in developing countries may have hindered access to educational opportunities, trade and communication.

The report further suggested that these biofuel schemes should be managed differently. One such country that is adopting change is Nigeria which is using rural mobile technology and agric loans to get small rural farmers involved in international markets.

These small businesses need to have direct access to certification. The report added: “Such mechanisms could include national legislation, public procurement policies, tax incentives and tax relief and start-up grants. Financial institutions also have an important role to play to support and enable schemes.”

Through these new plans, the report recommends local inspectors examine on-site conditions and work with local farmers to give them the accreditation that they need. These certification schemes also need to make sure that workers are being paid a good wage, that everyone has market access and that the overall local economy benefits in the long term.

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