Scaling up- scaling up: food security, smallholder farmers & markets

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October 16th 2014 is World Food Day, and in line with this years International Year of Family Farming, the theme of this World Food Day is “Family Farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth” aiming to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farmers. Across Africa, smallholders account for 80% of Africa’s farmland and produce 80% of the food in Asia and Sub Saharan Africa. However due to a lack of suitable infrastructure, access to inputs, technology and storage, the majority of smallholders farmers are not well connected to markets.

After a warm welcome and opening remarks from our very own Katrin Glatzel, and introductions from H.E. Ambassador Neil Briscoe, the UK Permanent Representative to the Rome-based Agencies the panellists shared some of their experiences, successes and challenges from their diverse fields of work.

We heard first from Sharada Keats from the Overseas Development Institute as she provided a comprehensive overview of the key findings and recommendations of the 2013 Leaping & Learning report, sharing that there is no silver bullet for scaling up. Attempts to scale up often do not reach the poorest and most vulnerable and social safety nets must be put in place to ensure that those most in need are adequately supported during the uptake of the project. Thom Sprenger from HarvestPlus supported that reaching the farmers and consumers most affected by micronutrient deficiencies  is a barrier to scaling up and that there is a need to mitigate risks associated with the adoption of a new crop – through credit, insurance, input incentives, and market connections. [Read more…]

Connecting Farmers to Markets Through Ethical Partners

Smallholder farmers, estimated to number some 500 million, are often disconnected from formal and export food markets. But new opportunities for linking retailers in Europe and the US with producers in Africa are emerging.

Some of the barriers smallholder farmers face in making these connections, as discussed in a new paper authored by Abbi Buxton and Bill Vorley of the International Institute for Environment and Development, include the high standard of products retailers require, timely delivery of products, and certification.

The paper discusses a four year project, which investigated new business models to address these barriers. The project was in collaboration with the Sustainable Food Laboratory, Catholic Relief Services, Rainforest Alliance and The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project examined four different value chains, this paper, the first in a series of four, looked at flowers in Kenya. [Read more…]