Principle 3: Build local access
Fundamental resources should be available to farmers to help them manage their production process more reliably and at less cost.
• Secure access to land and water resources, especially for women farmers
• Provide rural access to microfinance services, especially microcredit
• Build infrastructure - particularly roads and ports - to make supplies available to farmers
• Improve access to agricultural inputs and services, including mechanical tools, seeds, fertilizers, and crop protection materials
• Encourage and coordinate multiple local actors to ensure information and supplies get into farmers' hands
• Invest in bioenergy where it contributes to energy security and to rural development
Poor infrastructure impedes access to resources and markets. For example in Africa, less than 50% of the rural population lives close to a four-seasons road. Transport can cost often constitute 50-60% of marketing costs in these situations. The World Bank estimates that in India, fruit and vegetable post harvest losses amount to 40% of total production, or the equivalent of one year of fruit and vegetable consumption in the UK.
Access to micro-credit (India)
Improving access to credit is essential to allow farmers to invest and grow. The Grameen Foundation is one of the leader in the field of microfinance and its loans are changing women’s lives. For example in India, llevva and her husband, Durgiah, live in a small, one room house made of mud and sticks. Before taking a loan from SHARE, both worked as day laborers for meager wages (usually 20rs per day for a woman and 40 rs per day for a man) and struggled to make ends meet. With her first loan, Ellevva purchased a buffalo that recently gave birth to a calf. It will now produce milk that Ellevva can sell in the market. With a second “special” loan of 3000 rs, she purchased two goats and some vegetables. When she purchases vegetables, Ellevva sells some and grinds the pulses and dals into flour. Already thinking ahead to her next loan, Ellevva wants to purchase another buffalo.
One stop shops (India)
Tata Chemicals, a subsidiary of the Tata Group, has established the Tata Kisan Sansar, a network of franchised rural retail outlets which offer a comprehensive range of agricultural inputs and services to farmers. The TKS has the objective of becoming a “onestop farmer’s solution shop” and follows a “hub and spoke” model with 32 hubs staffed by agronomists and community organizers offering farm-specific services like soil testing. Each hub, in turn, supports around 20 franchisee outlets in a radius of 50-60 km, with each outlet promoted by a local entrepreneur serving some 30 to 40 villages. TKS offers extensive agri-products and services such as advice from agronomists and farmer’s training.
Serving farmers by reducing credit risks for agrodealers (Malawi)
CNFA established credit insurance in 2001 in Malawi to guarantee repayment of half of the money borrowed by agricultural input retailers to stock their shops. This greatly expanded the number of rural distributors and decreased the distances farmers travelled to obtain inputs, sometime quite dramatically, resulting in savings in both time and travel costs. By 2005, retailers covered by the guarantees earned more than $1 million (plus a significant amount not underwritten by the credit insurance). Their success boosted local economies, raised Government tax receipts and increased the provision of non-agricultural services. After the 2005 food crisis, the Government distributed seeds and fertilizers in order to prevent the situation from worsening. The 2006 maize crop rebounded significantly, but the impact on private-sector retailers was devastating: commercial sales of fertilizers slumped by 60-70 per cent. A coalition engaged with the Government to transform the support programme into a private-public partnership. Retail sales have since recovered.