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A UN FAO report has suggested that governments across the APAC region provide an enabling environment to support the integration outputs of poor, smallholder farmers into modern efficient value chains
This will offer them a chance to improve their livelihoods and revitalise rural economies, it stated.
Most self-employed subsistence farmers in this region are unable to market their produce through modern value chains due to their economic condition. This makes it difficult for them to break out of poverty and contribute to the region’s overall rural economic growth.
According to the report, these farmers and their families comprise the main category of rural self-employed in the region's agriculture sector, where they hold 60 per cent of agricultural land.
FAO senior specialist in agro-industry and post-harvest techniques, Rosa Rolle said, “Most poor rural farmers do not belong to farming organizations like farmers groups and cooperatives, so they are under-represented and prevented from participating in political and economic advocacy. Their use of outdated technologies, deficiencies in rural infrastructure, a general lack of safe storage facilities and affordable transportation combine to reduce their productivity, resulting in high levels of post-harvest losses and produce that is of uncompetitive quality.”
Rolle pointed out that many of the rural-urban migration trends involve men moving to the cities, leaving women behind to cultivate the land; they do not have the tools, the training or equal access to credit and land ownership to take proper advantage of the situation.
Revitalising the region's rural economy will depend on public incentives and investments to create an enabling environment for small-holder farmers and particularly marginalised and vulnerable groups to access inclusive and efficient value chains. The focus should be on domestic markets to correct import substitution and nutrition security problems.