Isaac Hopkins, Nourishing the Planet
One of the best ways to encourage economic growth in poor areas is to provide affordable small loans to farmers and small-business owners. Called microcredit or microloans, these programs can inject capital into communities that lack the collateral required by conventional banks.
Ecova Mali’s first microgrant went to Fatoumata Dembele, to buy vegetable seeds for her village. (Photo credit: Ecova Mali)
Today, Nourishing the Planet introduces five innovative microcredit programs that are encouraging economic growth in poor communities.
Farmer-to-Farmer Programs: Microcredit programs tend to be most sustainable when they promote cooperation between residents of a community. Encouraging farmer-to-farmer support can be an effective technique because it allows participants to be less reliant on outside financing and guidance.
Message to Southern Africa Leaders: Invest in Women and Smallholder Farmers Daniela Costa, Oxfam International
From the 17-18 August 2015, SADC (Southern African Development Community) Heads of State will be meeting in Gaborone, Botswana, for their 35th Ordinary Summit. SADC member states will take key decisions that will determine the direction of development and integration in the region. When Presidents Mugabe, Khama and Zuma sit down with other regional leaders to thrash out the details of key policy proposals, the centrality of one issue should be elevated above all others: the importance of investment in women and smallholder farmers.
Smallholder farmers, and women in particular, are the future of agricultural development in Southern Africa. Despite rapid urbanization, around three quarters of Sub-Saharan Africans still reside in the rural areas and rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.