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Belgium : Turn farmers in the South into entrepreneurs. New strategic policy note Agriculture and Food Security.

Moving away from unproductive subsistence farming to sustainable commercial farming. That is the central message of "From Subsistence to Entrepreneurship", the new strategic policy note on Agriculture and Food Security that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo presents today. The new strategic policy note also places much attention on strengthening the role of women and agricultural sustainability.

Strengthening the position of farmers in the South is the central aim of the new strategic policy note Agriculture and Food Security. With this new strategy, Belgium's international development policy aims to allow farmers with potential to expand and grow into true independent farmers over the next few years.

Alexander De Croo: Africa needs an agricultural revolution, one that moves away from unproductive subsistence farming to sustainable commercial farming. This is the only sustainable solution to Africa's high population and rapid urbanisation. We must move away from our preconceived ideas of the small-scale farmer who has to keep working at all costs, yet cannot even provide enough food for his own family. Farmers must become entrepreneurs, also in the South.

In particular, the new agricultural strategy focuses on the provision of technical assistance and facilitating access to credit, but also building up a local agro-food sector in which younger people can get started. The new strategy also confirms the importance of international and above all regional trade. It makes no sense for countries in West Africa to import European agricultural products which they can just as easily produce themselves or purchase from neighbouring countries, Minister De Croo explains.

Female equality

The importance of gender equality and more opportunities for women also receives the necessary attention. Research shows that the education and position of women contributes up to 28% on average to the optimal use of quality nutrition in LDCs. Women play a key role in the pursuit of food security and quality nutrition. Higher incomes among women have a positive effect on the nutrition, health and education of children. Let's not forget: strong, independent women also take care of family planning.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:May 9, 2017
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