Year of Publication: 2019-07-24
The Innov4AgPacific & PIFON Regional Workshop on ‘Investment Readiness & Financial Inclusion: Optimising Performance of Pacific Agricultural Value Chains’ was convened at the Tokatoka Resort Hotel, Nadi on 8th May, 2019. A total of over 80 participants from 9 Pacific Islands including farmers, fisher-folk, agri-processors, community organisations, financiers, Government representatives, researchers and development partners attended. The one-day meeting explored opportunities for improving financing and inclusive development of small and medium agricultural enterprises and enhancing value chain performance in Pacific Island States.
The following topics were addressed by experts, bankers, producers and agri-entrepreneurs:
- Access to Finance and Innovative Financing Mechanisms
- Value Chain Capacity Development Programmes and Alliances
- The Enabling Environment – Policy, Regulation and Legislation
- The Way Forward
Key Conclusions and recommendations going forward are:
- Governments and banks need to and can work together: to provide inclusive financial services to rural farmers and SMEs which make up 80% of agri-enterprises in most PICs.
- Bottom-up advocacy and lobbying and collective action involving farmers/SMEs are important:g. to lobby for better services and input supply prices to control cost. Farmers, SMEs, producer organisations, cooperatives, exporters, processors, financiers and governments etc. need to work more efficiently together in support of agribusiness and value chain development. There are untapped markets for all to explore.
- Financial literacy and value chain capacity building programs are making a difference in the incomes and livelihoods of PIC farmers/SMEs and should be expanded: Capacity development activities should include business advisory and mentoring services.
- ICT use in financing, agri-business and value chain is a game changer and partnerships are needed: ICT use e.g. digital ledgers are helping to build a track record for farmers/SMEs to access loans. ICTs also support cost cutting e.g. on weekly loan collections by establishing mobile Banking systems.
- Professionalisation of farmers/producer organisations will improve agribusiness and VC performance: The “Optimising the Performance of Producers’ Organisations” (OPPO) approach should be mainstreamed across the Pacific region to support inclusiveness and help farmers in moving up the value chain.
- Focus on reaching women entrepreneurs, village and youth groups: Ministries can provide the connection to villages and women/youth groups and by working together with commercial banks, development finance institutions and donors/development partners’ support they can provide co-financing that increase access to finance activities in agribusiness and value chain development and enhanced performance.