Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya says farmers must have access to innovation and business management training in order for them to treat farming as a business.

Giving a statement on behalf of the Africa Group at the ongoing 156th Session of FAO Council in Rome, Siliya highlighted the importance of business training for farmers.

“Chairperson, I would like to appreciate and comment on the fourth strategic objective that highlights the post-production aggregation, processing, distribution and consumption of goods that originate from Agriculture, forestry and fisheries. The Africa group appeals for innovations that integrate agri-business models, in the agri-business supply chains of the smallholder farmers as the links have become increasingly important to guarantee food and nutritional security as well as job creation. It is, therefore, essential that farmers learn about value addition, group marketing and financial literacy to enable them negotiate financial services that are appropriate for their needs. They must also be enabled to access innovation and business management training, in order to better manage farming as a business,” Siliya said.

She noted that the full potential of agro-industries as an engine for economic development was yet to be realized.

“There are clear indications that agro- industries are have a significant global impact on economic development and poverty reduction, in both urban and rural communities. However, the full potential of agro-industries as an engine for economic development has not yet been fully realized in many developing countries, especially in Africa. Finally, the Africa group is particularly delighted with the sixth objective as it highlights the need to strengthen the collection of high quality statistics.” Said Siliya.

“Statistical data is vital for informed policy decisions and we appeal for technical support in the area of reliable data collection tools. We also welcome the two cross-cutting themes of gender and governance and note that there is substantial effort to integrate them across all the strategic objectives.”