Smallholder farmers provide the vast majority of the world’s food supply, and ‘small-scale farming’ is the largest occupation group of economically active people, 43% of which are women.
Approximately 2 billion of the world’s poorest live in households that depend on agriculture in some form for their livelihoods, whether this is for market or subsistence. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that growth in agriculture in developing countries is on average almost 3 times more effective in reducing poverty (relative to non-agriculture GDP growth).
In light of SDG 2, to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, this is an important statement. According to the FAO, “meeting the goals of eradicating hunger and poverty by 2030, while addressing the threat of climate change, will require a profound transformation of food and agriculture systems worldwide.” It is fundamental to invest and support small-scale sustainable agriculture.
Plantwise helps smallholder farmers to invest in themselves by providing them with the key knowledge and skills they need to lose less and feed more. Plant clinics are a proven way of increasing farmer yields and empowering communities from within. Ensuring farmers are well-equipped against the threat of pests and diseases to their crop improves food security.
Farmers who use our plant clinics are more productive. In 2017, maize farmers in Rwanda who used plant clinics saw an increase across yield (27%), net income (29%). Whilst costs also went up by 14%, the increase in income from increased yield more than compensated for these costs, giving an increase in net income of 29%.
The same was also found for tomato farmers in Malawi whose yield went up by 20%, net income by 21%, again alongside an increase in total costs by 14%. These farmers made use of their local plant clinic and compared to those that didn’t, were able to put their skills and knowledge into positive change for themselves.
With Africa’s population set to double by 2050, new jobs will be needed for the more than 600 million working adults who will then be entering the labour market. Growth in agriculture is key for job creation for unskilled labour as well as for employment generation in agricultural equipment, inputs, processing, and retail. If we invest in agricultural development then that should feed a projected 9.7 billion people by 2050.
With the dangers of climate change potentially cutting crop yields, particularly in the world’s most food-insecure regions, continuing to share knowledge to those that need it most is vital.
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This article was originally published on SciDev.Net Seeds, tools and practical advice can make a world of difference to small-scale farmers. Copyright: One Acre Fund This article is supported by the CASA programme.For 40-year-old Beatrice Mulwale,…
4 December 2019