In 2016 Solidaridad Southern Africa established the South African Smallholder Farmer’s Market Access Platform together with a number of social partners including LIMA Development Foundation, WWF and the Southern Africa Food Lab. The platform seeks to address challenges that small holder producers face in accessing formal market. This platform served to congregate all key market actors and stakeholders like major retailers, government, finance institutions, development organisations and academia.
These stakeholders jointly concluded that the current emerging producer support initiatives are too fragmented and this necessitates a more integrated approach where issues related to emerging producer sustainable production, quality and food safety, commercialisation and market access could be addressed collaboratively and concurrently. The dialogues at the Smallholder Farmers’ Market Access Platform resulted into the consensus and development of the Farmer2Market Project whose primary objective is to help capacitate emerging producers with Good Agricultural Practices within their farming operation to create (with various relevant partnerships and collaborations) a market orientated environment and produce quality yield that the retail, fresh produce and agro-processing market can absorb
At the centre of the Farmer2Market Project is our ambition to make the agricultural value chain players part of the developmental engagement with emerging farmers by using digital solutions. We will therefore be using two apps developed by Solidaridad (under its Digital Solutions portfolio), namely the “Farming Solution App” which will serve the farmer to identify specific areas of improvement through data recording and help them improve social environmental and food safety compliances and the “Business Solution App”, which will serve to inform the buying market on the quality of yield by assessing farming practice on a particular farm to ascertain safety and health standard compliance.
The Farmer2Market Project targets the following provinces; Limpopo, Gauteng/North West, Eastern /Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal. The project is supported by the EU under its SWITCH Africa Green Facility. Solidaridad Southern Africa is managing the project in an implementation and co-funding partnership with LIMA Development Foundation and ICCO.