Rome -- The Rabobank Foundation and FAO will share knowledge, innovation and financial resources in a broad strategy to make a difference in the lives of small-holder farmers and the rural poor in Africa.
An agreement signed at FAO headquarters sets out how the organizations will work together on development projects in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. The projects will improve the income of small-holder farmers through support to small rural businesses, as well as through the identification of productive, competitive and sustainable agri-businesses along the whole value chain.
Director-General José Graziano da Silva said that 'this agreement is more than a piece of paper. Today, we commit to implement specific projects in three African countries'. He added that the Rabobank Foundation's experience in risk management, agricultural credit, investment funds and producer organization strengthening will complement FAO's work in hunger eradication.
Kees Bruinstroop, Chairman of the Rabobank Foundation, said that 'with this memorandum we are bringing together our core competencies. I find it very positive that we are starting with pilot projects that will allow us to learn from each other.'
Managing Director Pierre van Hedel said that the Rabobank Foundation is setting up a special team to work with FAO's project staff.
Founded in 1973 and based in the Netherlands, Rabobank Foundation is a corporate foundation funded by the Rabobank Group, which donates a percentage of its annual profits to the foundation's activities. Its main activity is to support cooperatives and member-based organizations through microfinance mechanisms. The Foundation assists small farmers and their cooperatives in rural areas of 24 Latin American, African and Asian countries.
The agreement signed today is one of the first private sector agreements in FAO's new private sector partnerships strategy. The Rabobank Foundation and the Rabobank Group have already participated in four Regional Conferences with FAO's Agro-Industries Division (AGS).