The South African Agri Academy (SAAA) is a non-profit organization that provides training, capacity building, cluster development, business advice/coaching, and strategic market linkages to smallholder farmers in the agricultural sector.

On the benefits of joining GLOBALG.A.P. as an associate member, Lina Keyter, Executive Director of the SA Agri Academy said that GLOBALG.A.P. membership “gives our members, the smallholder farmers, the opportunity to comply to different standards cost effectively, supply a boarder market as well as diversify and become sustainable, and operate as clusters a self-managed food safety system cost effectively with in house expertise trained in partnership with GLOBALG.A.P.”

The cluster approach has been identified as the best solution to support farmers to gain the necessary competitive position to sustain their business, thereby creating more full-time job opportunities, especially in the rural areas. A cluster refers to a group of smallholder farmers who collaborates on group buying for input requirements, joint selling to the same buyer and joint negotiations and sharing of implements, whilst a central packing logistical system further contributes to such successful cluster formation. Such a cluster can also establish a cooperative as a legal entity.

Clusters enable individual smallholder farmers to operate together in more economically viable groups when marketing and processing their produce. This makes transaction costs lower and ultimately contributes to greater profitability and sustainability of these enterprises.

The SAAA aims to deliver and develop agricultural specific programs and services that create a positive economic impact, create employment and address equity. The academy also fosters guidance and support to agri-business seeking sustainable market access, and offers various training and development programs.

Recently Agri Academy South Africa in partnership with Standard Bank Group’s Corporate Social Investment and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) initiated a unique capacity-building initiative aimed at boosting sustainable market access for smallholder farmers by helping them operate in clusters. Keyter said, “The three partners will use practical capacity building to strengthen the competitive national and international market position of these agricultural entrepreneurs through the cluster initiative.”

Learn more about GLOBALG.A.P. Member South African Agri Academy (SAAA) at www.agriacademy.co.za.

Learn more about the benefits of GLOBALG.A.P. Membership at www.globalgap.org/membership.