Cluster farming has proven to be a sustainable way to attain food security.
Cluster farming can be referred to as a system whereby a group of small holder farmers partners on joint sharing of buying and using implements, negotiations, selling to the same buyer, the central packing logistical system is also imbibed, cluster farmers are usually in the same locality.
The size of the cluster is often determined by the facilitator. Clusters can include several actors across the value chain.
For instance in Nigeria, cluster farming has been embraced by different farmers in states across the country. Some of the benefits of cluster farming include
Access to Finance
Agriculture cannot be done in a silo. One of the advantages of cluster farming is access to finance. The group has the opportunity to solicit funds from government initiatives, bank loans are easier because the beneficiaries are seen as cooperatives. For instance in Nigeria, West Africa, the Central Bank of Nigeria through Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) gives loans based on group basis.
There is strength in numbers, cluster farming encourages increased local food production for improved agricultural production and attainment of full food security. There is increased productivity and increased yield which in turn boosts food sufficiency in Africa.
Agriculture has the capacity to eradicate poverty in Africa and achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1 by 2030. Cluster Farming helps boost the personal economy of the members of the group. The members of the group can bid a higher prices for their commodities.
Risks are shared among the members of the group. This reduces shock and foster collaboration.
The Sustainable Development Goal 17 is partnerships for goals; cluster farming fulfills the goal.
It is cost effective as the capital investment is divided among all the group members with effort and work shared which encourages the division of labour.