How NTF II benefits thousands of producers
During a recent trip to Uganda, Anders Aeroe, Director of ITC’s Market Development Division, met Ssanyu Sauda Kakooza, a female coffee farmer who was building a new house. "That's what I got from the last coffee harvest, and I just need to work for one more harvest and I'll be able to add the windows, the doors and a roof," Kakooza told him, adding that she had also managed to save enough money to send her seven children to school, buy a motorcycle, a television and a water tank for irrigation.
Kakooza is just one of the hundreds of farmers who have benefitted from NTF II's support to sector development, primarily in agro-produce, by strengthening institutions and enhancing effectiveness of the sector value chain in Bangladesh, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda. She and her husband manage their Miracle Coffee Bean Farm and, as members to the Kabonera Coffee Farmers Association, under the umbrella of the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE), they benefit from business and technical support to enhance their skills. "That type of development impact, a spill-over from what we do onto the ultimate beneficiaries, the coffee farmers in this case, that was to me a very good example of what we want to achieve," Mr Aeroe said. "We want to improve the livelihoods of these people by helping them do better what they already do."
Women, who play a key role in agriculture in Africa, are a main target of NTF II. ‘As Kakooza's case highlights, if you empower women, you are empowering a family, not an individual,’ Mr Aeroe said.
NTF II is tailored to meet the needs of local partners through training and coaching, these skills are then passed on to producers in sectors ranging from tree fruits in Kenya, coffee in Uganda, to mangos in Senegal, Rooibos tea in South Africa and IT in Bangladesh. ‘We have seen the results on the ground,’ said Mr Aeroe, who oversees the implementation of the NTF II programme in close collaboration with the Dutch Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries.
“Our local project partners have played a critical role in project formulation phase as well as in the implementation phase. It is a key principle of ITC that our project activities are embedded with our local partners as they are the ones to ensure the sustainability and longer-term developmental impact of the activities initiated during the projects - by building on these activities after the projects have been completed”, said Mr Aeroe.
Years of personal experience in African countries, such as Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Malawi and South Africa, his given Mr Aeroe extensive insight into the challenges of promoting development in some of the world's poorest nations.
These places have helped me understand the daily issues and the dynamics of on-the-ground development processes, whether it's sector development or social development,’ said Mr Aeroe. ‘There are no shortcuts to development, though obviously some things work better than others. I got an understanding of what has worked well in these countries.’
One of today's biggest problems for exports from developing countries is a decrease in demand as a result of the global economic slowdown. This has exacerbated the supply constraints already faced by developing countries. Producers feel the impact of the drop in consumption, Mr Aeroe said, and exports in some cases have been reduced dramatically because of fluctuating commodity prices.
Africa is also increasingly suffering the effects of climate change, he said, not only in the Sahel region, but also elsewhere on the continent. The effects of climate change will likely lead to increased migration and relocation and related conflicts linked to access to land and water. ‘The combination of recession and climate change is very challenging for those most exposed,’ Aeroe said.
NTF II is helping producers improve their competitive edge through production of higher-quality goods and services, more efficient marketing and a more streamlined value chain.
‘Our approach is strongly embedded in the needs of the beneficiaries in the countries we work with," Mr Aeroe said. The development business is full of examples of projects that have been put down on people with limited results because they don't really meet the needs of the intended beneficiaries. "We want to avoid that and have ensured ownership by the people we work with. This is a precondition for the related sustainable results.’