NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 24- A section of farmers in the country were among the beneficiaries of a Sh630.5 million fund, allocated by Fairtrade International to cushion them against the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
This is according to Norman Katihvu, a board member of Fairtrade Africa, who also serves as a Youth Representative to the board.
Katihvu said the organization helped thousands of farmers between March and November in nine countries in Africa among them Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.
“Apart from assisting farmers recover from economic losses due to COVID-19, the funding which was under the Recover Africa Project, was also given to assist producers maintain and diversify their supply chain relations, and ensure business continuity, food security and income generation,” Katihvu said.
The funding, which was secured by Fairtrade International, was provided by The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) with cooperation from The German Development Agency GiZ.
Katihvu spoke during the ongoing Fairtrade Africa Convention taking place virtually.
Speaking at the same event, Lynette Thorstensen the Board Chair of Fairtrade International revealed that they assisted hundreds of companies that produce food and agricultural products across the world.
According to Thorstensen, Fairtrade International set aside a Covid relief fund in which more than10.5 million Euros was raised by external governments, retailers, crowdfunding as well as internal sources by pledges from members for relief and resilience support for producer organisations.
“A total of 337 producer organisations from 17 African countries have benefited from the fund. We believe that in the current climate, we need to move faster and ensure no one gets left behind.”
At the same time, Mary Kinyua, the Fairtrade Africa Board Chairperson, urged African governments to increase the amount of funding allocated to the agriculture sector.
“Agriculture remains the major source of economic growth around the continent contributing to the 14 percent GDP, governments therefore need to ensure they allocate enough funding in order to grow this sector,” she said.
Kinyua said the organization is working towards creating a world in which farmers can have sustainable livelihoods.
The organization will do this through a strategic plan, which includes policy and advocacy, product and market development, sustainable farming systems as well pushing for transformed and strengthened producer organisations.
This ongoing 3-days event is expected to converge more than 1000 delegates.