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Green innovation centres – increase the income of smallholders


Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller visiting the milk processing plant in the Green innovation centre at the Bukura Agricultural College in Kenya

Global food production currently stands at record levels, yet there are still two billion people suffering from chronic malnutrition, around 800 million of which are going hungry. Rural areas, and smallholders in particular, are the hardest hit.

In order to achieve sustainability of food supply for the growing global population, the productivity of small-scale farming needs to be increased. Smallholders need to have access to knowledge, markets, capital and means of production. Production, processing and marketing need to be closely interlinked.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) therefore supports sustainable development of the agriculture and food sector in a manner that is adapted to local conditions. As part of its special initiative ONE WORLD – No Hunger, the BMZ has set up green innovation centres in 14 partner countries for German development cooperation. The Ministry will provide funding of 206 million euros for these centres until the end of 2021. The products and services provided by the innovation centres will improve the living conditions of seven million people.

Innovation in action

The core task of the green innovation centres is to adopt innovative methods, techniques and forms of organisation in order to develop the agriculture and food sector further. On the one hand, this involves using high-quality seeds and fertilisers, or introducing technical innovations, such as modern farming and harvest techniques, efficient drying methods and the development of refrigeration systems for storage.

On the other hand, however, new forms of cooperation are another key area of activity in which green innovation centres are engaged – two examples being the setting up of producer groups and of bodies representing the interests of farmers. The centres also promote support services for smallholders such as extension services, training courses and professional development as well as access to loans and other financial products. A particular focus is placed on issues concerning young people and women; specific training measures and extension services are some of the ways in which these are provided with support.

Within the partner countries for German development cooperation, the innovation centres work together closely with governments, private and public organisations in the agriculture and food sector, research centres, companies, as well as with non-governmental organisations.

They also actively harness German and international expertise in the fields of science and academia, civil society and the private sector for the benefit of food security and are therefore able to draw upon a wealth of experience that has been acquired over time.


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