Cees van Rij is Manager Agri-Advice at Agriterra. Agriterra is an agri-agency rooted in the Dutch agricultural sector and aims to professionalise cooperatives and farmer organisations worldwide to enable them to better serve the needs and interest of their member farmers. Our team of over 60 business advisors together with cooperative expertise and peer-to-peer advice from the Dutch agri & food sector provide tailored and hands-on business development services to farmer-owned businesses and organisations in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
At Agriterra Cees van Rij heads a rapidly growing team of business advisors active in 15 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Furthermore he is responsible for the general management of Agripool; Agriterra’s unique non-profit employment agencies for agri & food professionals. But first of all and before and anything he is a farmers’ son, born and raised at a mixed dairy – arable farm in Rockanje in the southwest of the Netherlands. Before joining Agriterra he worked for five years in Ecuador as advisor to the National Federation of Farmer Organisations. Cees holds a Bachelor’s in Tropical Agriculture (Larenstein – Netherlands) and a Master’s in Business Administration (Nyenrode – Netherlands). He is a slow but enthusiastic marathon runner.
Over 1.4 billion people are working on 570 million farms worldwide. 475 million of these farms are smallholdings of less than 5 acres, and almost 90% are in developing countries. Across the globe, ambitious smallholder farmers are forming organisations and cooperatives. More than 20% of farmers in developing countries are members of organisations that strengthen their economic position.
At the other end of the scale, there is a growing demand for food globally, which is why large investments are made in agriculture in emerging economies by agrifood companies. Together, these facts mean that smallholder farmers and their organisations are becoming increasingly important as business and development partners. Cooperation between organised farmers and the food industry enables more security of supply, high quality products, increased efficiency and spread of risks as well as it will give farmers in developing countries the possibility to develop their farm and to escape from poverty. The potential, both in commercial as in societal terms, is evident though seems to be hardly untapped. This presentation will address key issues to make the aid & trade agenda work.