Keeping up standards
Southern Africa is affected by political and economic instability with widespread corruption. Many countries are classified as Least Developed Countries and receive funding from sources such as the OECD. Applying standards and aid-for-trade arrangements are becoming more relevant for middle-income countries in the region.
Climate change and poor landscape management are major concerns in the region because of the risks they pose to agricultural development.
Achievements and partnerships:
- Solidaridad has received more funding for farmer-led initiatives in horticulture, livestock and grains, vegetables, cassava and soy.
- Projects include Mumbwa cotton gin in Zambia and mango processing in South Africa.
- Work has begun on a self-assessment tool to help smallholders implement better agricultural practices. The locally based project is supported by the Dutch Embassy.
- New partnerships have been agreed with major retailers Woolworths and Danish Co-op.
Cotton: Spinning out
Mozambique was included in the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), which is already established in India, China, South America and sub-Saharan Africa. Solidaridad has a seat on the BCI council and is working to maintain its reputation as a credible standards watchdog.
BCI-verified cotton is produced through Farmer Support Programmes.
Soy: Securing the future
The soy programme in Mozambique, Malawi and Ghana will build on the lessons learned in India and China, where farms are similar in size and there is comparable scope to improve agricultural practices.
We have been working to certify soy production at a time when demand for sustainable soy has been falling because of the relative weakness of traditional buyers such as the EU.
Sugarcane: Changing the guard
Solidaridad has been setting up the Farmer Support Programme which has already reached 120,000 growers and workers worldwide, including first-generation irrigated cane growers in Swaziland.
Solidaridad is working in partnership with the Sustainability Initiative of South Africa (SIZA) to use its internationally recognized ethical standard as the basis for a suite of tools that can be used across a range of commodities.