Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

How to Finance an Agroecology Transition

30 May 20240.  2nd webinar in our Agroecology Economies Series How to Finance an Agroecology Transition: Innovations in Accessible and Affordable Credit Systems

This is the second webinar of the Agroecology Fund’s series on "Agroecology Economies". 

Credit is essential for any economic activity. It's no different for agroecological food production – farming, fishing, livestock rearing, and forest product collection. Without working capital, it is difficult to run a business at any scale. And we want agroecology to succeed at a large scale!

According to FAO data, in 2022, credit to agriculture reached USD 1,099 billion globally. Sadly, most credit feeds the dysfunctional way food is produced, processed, and marketed – causing large greenhouse gas emissions, destruction of biodiversity, and inequalities. To transform food systems towards agroecology, we must orient funding flows to reward sustainability and equity, especially for social sectors that have historically been denied access to affordable credit.

This webinar brought together changemakers tackling the dysfunctions of food systems and innovating to make credit available to food producers and agroecology businesses. These innovations address what and who credit is for and how to design it to be accessible, including a gender-based approach to address women’s access to credit.

  • Northern Cooperative Development Bank (NCDB), Sri Lanka: Cooperative credit schemes
  • Concertation Nationale des Organisations Paysannes au Cameroun (CNOP-CAM), Cameroon: Revolving funds mechanisms
  • FINAPOP, Brazil: A platform for connecting investors and farmers cooperatives
  • Associação de Cooperação Agrícola e Reforma Agrária do Paraná (ACAP/PR), Brazil: Leveraging public funds for agroecology
  • Dr. Rajeswari Raina, Shiv Nadar University, India: Financing the agroecological transition in India

    She referred to the Revitalising Rainfed Agriculture Network (RRAN). This is a pan-Indian network of academics, civil society organizations, development bankers, and others, working to enhance public investments in support of rainfed agriculture. It works towards prosperous, productive and secure rainfed agriculture.

See further: See: Public Development Banks’ potential in Agricultural and Food systems to tackle food and nutrition insecurity from an agroecological perspective Rajeswari S. Raina (professor, Shiv Nadar University) and Tara Nair (professor, Gujarat Institute of Development Research).
  • Despite the constitution of the nationwide network, the National Coalition on Natural Farming (NCNF), there is limited government funding for agroecology. The latest budget announced for 2023-24 has provided meager public investment for local, sustainable infrastructure through allocations to establish 15,000 Bio Input Resource Centres.
Building capacities to finance agroecological transformations:
  • Focus on sub-national actors: State Governments, mainly Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Karnataka, and Himachal Pradesh, and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) like the Timbaktu Collective and Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, and the Revitalization of Rainfed Agriculture Network have tried out innovative approaches to mobilize financial resources for redesigning agri-food systems. These include innovations that combine the funds available under central assistance, and state plans to forge creative financing arrangements and mobilize grants from Public Development Banks (PDBs) and philanthropic organizations.
  • Expand and deepen the blended finance model: The unique blended financing partnership built on the philosophy to 'leverage private finance for the public good,' the Sustainable India Finance Facility (SIFF), under the leadership of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with participation from BNP Paribas and the World Agroforestry Centre, offers key lessons. Similar experiments with Farmer Field Schools, BioFarms, Integrated Farming Systems, and watershed development that facilitate bio-based landscape changes (with donors (like BMZ - through GIZ-India) also offer capacity-building lessons.
  • Reform Public Development Banks (PDBs). There is an urgent need for institutional reform of PDBs in India along agroecological principles, with a decentralized database, indicators of sustainability transitions, and healthy regard for local food cultures and agroecological knowledge vested with communities.

11 April 2024. First webinar Agroecology Economies Series: Participatory Guarantee Systems for Accessible Agroecology Markets: Learnings for a Way Forward

How does a consumer know if their food is agroecological? How can food producers be recognized and fairly compensated for their agroecological produce? Answering these questions lies at the heart of Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS). Shared knowledge and social control are critical principles of PGS and differentiate it from conventional third-party audit systems, which tend to be expensive, exclusive, and focused on export crops. PGS can facilitate access to agroecology markets and promote trust-based relationships between producers and consumers. It can be an engine for sovereign, fair, and localized agroecological food systems. 

This webinar, brought together Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) practitioners from Asia, Africa, and Latin America to share the lessons learned so far about the operationalization and management of PGS, regulatory frameworks to incorporate PGS in national legislation, PGS methodologies and certification criteria, as well as the challenges and innovations in designing PGS in diverse territories and contexts.

Meirelles, Karla da Silva, and six Agroecology Fund grantee partners gathered to discuss their approaches to PGS on an Agroecology Fund webinar moderated by Agroecology Fund Advisor Georgina Catacora-Vargas, that was attended by nearly 600 people from 88 countries, and was translated in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. The webinar was the first in the Agroecological Economies webinar series that will continue throughout the year. The conversation focused on grassroots experiences with PGS as a way to strengthen access to markets and trust between consumers and producers. Participants described PGS with differing structures and norms depending on the needs and circumstances of local communities.
  • Jayakumar Chelaton (Thank Trust, India
  • Rashida Kabanda (ESAFF Uganda
  • Alberto Cárdenas Castillo (Agrecol ANDES, Bolivia
  • Aida Jamangulova (Agency of Development Initiatives, Kyrgyzstan) Carol Rojas Vargas (Semilla Nativa, Colombia
  • Alessandra Karla da Silva (CEDAC, Brazil
  • Roberto Gortaire Amézcua (Colectivo Agroecológico del Ecuador
  • Laércio Meirelles (Latin American PGS Forum)

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