Help Farmers Reach Markets

March 19, 2014 – World Bank –

Appetites are changing – and so are the foods people buy, as well as where and how much they purchase. Changes in diet and consumption are driving up demand. More people are consuming more calories, and increasingly those calories are coming from meat and dairy. Meat consumption in low and middle-income countries is projected to grow 75 percent from 2005 to 2050, reaching 30 kilograms per person per year. South Asia alone is expected to quadruple its meat consumption in that time period. According to projections, each person will consume 3,070 calories per day in 2050, up from 2,750 in 2007.

Connecting farmers to consumers via local, urban, regional and global markets can raise incomes, deliver food from surplus to deficit regions and stabilize food prices. The World Bank Group works to improve infrastructure and bolster support services, to unblock ‘value chains’ and increase market access.

Improving Infrastructure

The Bank works with countries to build solid road networks and expand access to reliable electricity, water supply and information and communication technology. It also supports infrastructure that improves product delivery while minimizing loss, such as storage facilities, dedicated agriculture port terminals, and facilities for processing agriculture products. The right infrastructure can reduce transaction costs for farmers, help subsistence farmers scale up to commercial agriculture, improve processing of agriculture products and reduce post-harvest losses.

The Bank has helped build better and more extensive rural roads in Assam, India, as well as grain storage facilities in the Punjab and cold storage at airports in Mali.

Helping Smallholders Compete

Smallholders can improve their livelihoods by reaching consumers beyond their local markets. Through producer organizations, the Bank helps farmers scale up their operations and lower costs by providing access to ICT, business development services, education and other opportunities to increase their revenues. Advisory services and new product development have helped agribusiness companies in the Kyrgyz Republic increase sales and profits.

Improving the Enabling Environment

The Bank uses analytical work to advise client countries on improving the policy and legal environment for smallholder farmers, traders and others involved in agriculture. Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture looks at how laws, regulations, policies and infrastructure affect the ability of farmers to produce, sell and buy their products, and deliver affordable food to a growing population.

The Bank also works with countries to expand access to financial services—credit facilities in Uzbekistan, Cambodia and Vietnam have helped farmers, exporters and processers secure the funding they need to bring their products to market.

Promoting Food Safety

The Bank supports smallholders in their efforts to meet food quality and safety standards so that they can sell in different markets, and contribute to domestic health and nutrition. Besides improving implementation of sanitary and other food safety standards, the Bank has also provides access to food safety training through e-learning and other tools, helps align local food safety institutions and systems to market needs and assists in improving the grading and packaging of products. With Bank support, agro-food producers in Moldova are better able to comply with export market standards and Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has improved food safety standards. The Bank’s Global Food Safety Partnership also works to improve food safety in middle-income and developing countries.

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