“The financing and organisation of small farmers into profitable, farmer-owned co-operatives will contribute both to the fight against hunger and to climate-friendly food production. Norwegian NGOs can form a useful partner in strategic collaboration between Norwegian and local firms, for which the goal is to create decent work and local economic growth, in addition to profitability in Norway”, says Reinaart Pretorius, the head of international development in the Royal Norwegian Society for Development.
The government is to prepare a strategy to increase Norwegian efforts in relation to climate-proofing, hindering climate-related catastrophes and fighting hunger. Together with other civic organisations and commercial bodies, the Royal Norwegian Society for Development was invited by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) to a consultative meeting held this week with the Minister for Development, Dag-Inge Ulstein.
Since 1978, the Royal Norwegian Society for Development has collaborated closely with NORAD and other international donors and institutions to promote and improve conditions for local agriculture and quality of life in developing countries. The following is our advice regarding what the Minister for Development and the government can do to strengthen Norwegian efforts in relation to climate-proofing, hindering climate-related catastrophes and fighting hunger.
1 access to credit and improved terms for financing
One of the greatest challenges for small farmers and entrepreneurs is access to finance in order to scale up and develop new business concepts. High interest rates and strict requirements limit opportunities for start-ups and commercial development in developing countries. Here the government should contribute to a financing mechanism that will provide easier access to capital.
2 organising small farmers into co-operatives or commercial units
When small farmers and entrepreneurs are organised into co-operatives or commercial units, they gain appreciably greater power in the market. Their productivity is improved, at the same time as the quality of their work becomes visibly better. Cutting out middle-men allows their profitability and their level of sales to increase. Organising these target groups also enables the whole value chain – from soil to table – to be professionalised.
3 strategic partnerships and local involvement of the private sector
Links between Norwegian and local businesses, as well as Norwegian NGOs, contribute to skills exchanges and market development. A three-way collaboration between these bodies creates good results. Local businesses are coupled directly with Norwegian counterparts, while strategic partnership minimises investment risks for Norwegian investors. NGOs can play an important role here.
Commercial development, knowledge exchange and collaboration yield verifiable results within development work. It is a matter of pride that the work of the Royal Norwegian Society for Development contributes to several of the UN’s sustainable-development goals, including zero hunger and decent work and economic growth; not least that it establishes forms of collaboration that contribute to attaining these goals.
Here at the Royal Norwegian Society for Development we look forward to future collaboration and efforts towards effective development policies in the future.