Following large companies like Cargill, Mars and Friesland Campina, small and medium-sized companies can also obtain products directly from farmers and their organizations in developing and emerging markets. Demand for agricultural products from Africa, Asia and Latin America is growing strongly. Direct cooperation with small-scale farmers offers Dutch companies future security of delivery.
This conclusion was heard on 29 May in The Hague, during the Sustainable Sourcing Event organized by Agriterra, together with IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative and Solidaridad. Of the 120 participants in the debate, more than a third consisted of entrepreneurs, especially from medium and small-sized companies. They held discussions with policy makers and nonprofit organizations on best practices, opportunities and challenges when collaborating with small-scale farmers,. The focus was on cocoa, coffee, fruit and vegetables, but entrepreneurs from sectors such as flowers, dairy and spices also participated.
Kees Blokland, Director of Agriterra, noted in his introduction that there is a ‘growing battlefield’ in the acquisition of agricultural products. ‘I also hear that from big buyers.’ Due to economic development in the countries of production, local demand is growing. ‘As a Dutch company, you can no longer be sure of obtaining your products through merchants or large-scale farmers in future. The role of small farmers is becoming increasingly important. Cooperatives and farmers’ organizations combine their production, and are new business partners.’
Read the full report of the Sustainable Sourcing Event!
Pictures: Agriterra / Nichon Glerum