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Smallholders, markets and food security

<em>Leaping and Learning</em> reviews existing approaches to connect farmers throughout the supply chain (© ODI/Agriculture for Impact)
Leaping and Learning reviews existing approaches to connect farmers throughout the supply chain
© ODI/Agriculture for Impact

Linking smallholders to agricultural markets can help address food and nutrition security as well as improve their own livelihoods and stimulate growth, two new reports from Agriculture for Impact state. The first report, Leaping and Learning: Linking Smallholders to Markets, offers a comprehensive review of existing approaches to connect farmers throughout the supply chain. The report states that an enabling investment climate and the provision of rural public goods (roads, power, education, health care, agricultural research and extension), provided by the state, are necessary conditions to ensure fair and efficient market linkages. Smallholders also require better access to inputs, technical advice, insurance, credit and markets. Leaping and Learning draws three conclusions: safety nets must remain in place for the poorest and most vulnerable who cannot be reached or who try but fail to link to markets; when scaling up successes, programmes must be adapted for different ecological zones and socio-economic conditions; and high-value cash crops such as cocoa and coffee often see more investment than staple crops, but it is important that the latter are not neglected.

In anticipation of the UK hosting the G8 event this month, the second report, 8 Views for the G8: Business Solutions for African Smallholder Farmers to Address Food Security and Nutrition, demonstrates how eight* leading agricultural development organisations have successfully worked with agro-dealers, governments, policymakers and businesses to give smallholders better access to policy dialogues, to input and output markets and to agronomic and business training. The report includes case studies on farm management systems in Burkina Faso and Mali, Market access in Burundi, Kenya and Rwanda, livestock service delivery in Kenya, sesame production and marketing in Tanzania, enterprise solutions in Liberia and Ghana, the coffee value chain in Ethiopia and agro-dealers in Zimbabwe.

* ACDI/VOCA, FANRPAN, Farm Africa, One Acre Fund, Self Help Africa, SNV, TechnoServe and Twin

Written by: Michael Hoevel, Deputy Director, Agriculture for Impact

Date published: June 2013


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