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Sustainable Systems » Ecological Agriculture & Food Security

Title: Investments in Small-Scale Sustainable Agriculture Best Way to Reduce Hunger and Poverty
Publication date: December 19, 2017
Posting date: December 19, 2017

THIRD WORLD NETWORK INFORMATION SERVICE ON SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

Dear Friends and Colleagues

Investments in Small-Scale Sustainable Agriculture Best Way to Reduce Hunger and Poverty

A report by the More and Better Network gives an overview of the global situation of investments in agriculture. It provides examples from some countries and presents recommendations for future investments in small-scale sustainable agriculture.

Most of the about 800 million people suffering from hunger and extreme poverty are peasants and their families. An estimated 2 billion of the world’s poorest people live in households in developing countries and depend on agriculture in some form for their livelihoods. Yet small-scale farmers, artisanal fisherfolks, pastoralists, hunters and gatherers provide food for the majority of the world's population.

Small-scale farmers are facing many challenges, including the lack of financial resources and climate change. They need capacity building, sharing of experiences and training in agroecology and other forms of productive and sustainable agriculture, production equipment suitable for such forms of agriculture, storehouses, locally based processing equipment, and better access to and conditions in the territorial markets.

Several reports show that support to and investments in small-scale sustainable agriculture in developing countries are by far the most efficient ways to reduce hunger and poverty. However, most governments in developing countries and the official development assistance/aid (ODA) from the rich countries give little support for this.

Among the 14 recommendations of the report are:

  • Governments should prioritize the development of sustainable forms of agriculture.
  • Increased investments should be tailored to directly benefit small-scale farmers. Such investments should increase the autonomy of the communities rather than their dependence on credit institutions. Special attention should be paid to the role of women and youth in the investment schemes.
  • Investments dedicated to small-scale food producers should pay particular attention to farmers’ rights, especially access to land, social and labour rights.
  • New schemes should pay particular attention to climate mitigation and adaptation and facilitate the access to practices that can be beneficial.
  • Governments should work in close coordination with the small-scale farmers’ organizations and other CSOs to ensure that an increased support to agriculture effectively benefit people on the ground.

With best wishes,
Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister
10400 Penang
Malaysia
Email: twn@twnetwork.org
Websites: http://www.twn.my/ and http://www.biosafety-info.net/
To subscribe to other TWN information services: www.twnnews.net



INVESTMENTS IN SMALL-SCALE SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

The More and Better Network

September 2017

http://www.moreandbetter.org/en/news/new-report-on-investments-in-small-scale-sustainable-agriculture-by-the-more-and-better-network

Summary

This report gives an overview of the global situation of investments in agriculture, provides examples from some countries and present recommendations for future investments in small-scale sustainable agriculture. Our aim is that this report will

- Increase knowledge, awareness and discussions about investments in small-scale sustainable agriculture among farmers’ organizations, NGOs, institutions and investors working in agriculture, especially in developing countries, as well as decision makers and institutions in OECD-countries dealing with official development assistance (ODA).
- Contribute to increased public and private investments in small-scale sustainable agriculture.
- Contribute to build links between organizations for small-scale farmers and investors.

The report provides facts about the current situation for investments in agriculture, shows the need for more investments in and support for small-scale sustainable agriculture, gives an overview of some of the most important financial institutions involved in agriculture and of the recent development in research for innovative investment schemes. It also gives some examples of investment schemes for small-scale sustainable farming.

The governments of the world have agreed on ambitious sustainable development goals (SDGs). Many of them are linked to agriculture, and goal no 2 is directly about agriculture; End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. To reach this and the other sustainable development goals, more investments in small-scale sustainable agriculture are needed.

FAO’s publication: The State of Food and Agriculture 2016 underlines that “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. Achieving the transformation to sustainable agriculture is a major challenge.… available finance for investment in agriculture falls well short of needs…The time to invest in agriculture and rural development is now."

Small-scale food producers – farmers, fisherfolks, pastoralists, hunters and gatherers – provide the food to the vast majority of people in the world, and small-scale farmers is the largest occupation / group of economically active people, and more than 40% of them are women.

Investments in small-scale sustainable agriculture is the most efficient way to reduce hunger and poverty. It is at least twice as effective as investments in any other sector. Despite these facts, only a small portion of the expenses of governments in developing countries and of the official development assistance /aid (ODA) goes to agriculture.

We hope that the report will contribute to the profound transformation of the food and agriculture system required, as called for by FAO, and contribute to get more and better investments in small-scale agroecological and other forms of sustainable agriculture.

Some challenges and recommendations

Based on the material for this booklet, we present here some recommendations.

  1. Governments should reconsider the importance of small-scale agriculture and its contribution to the national economies and prioritize the development of sustainable forms of agriculture.
  2. The share of public expenditure going to support for agriculture from national states, both in developing countries and in the Official Development Assistance (ODA), is very low. It is recommended to increase significantly the budget dedicated to small-scale sustainable agriculture.
  3. Governments which have committed to a percentage of their national budgets to agriculture (e.g. African governments), should ensure that this is being implemented.
  4. Governments should work in close coordination with the small-scale farmers’ organizations and other CSOs to ensure that an increased support to agriculture effectively benefit people on the ground, in particular women and youth.
  5. Support for agriculture in the ODA from the OECD-countries and others should be at least 10% of the total ODA, and small-scale agroecological and other forms of sustainable agriculture should get most of the financial resources. This target should be reached as soon as possible, and not later than 2019.
  6. Civil society in the countries providing ODA ought to add pressure on governments to increase the support for small-scale sustainable agriculture and infrastructure important for such agriculture.
  7. Climate change makes the risks in agriculture bigger than before. Guarantee schemes should be built up by governments and development agencies so small-scale farmers can get financial support if the harvests fail. This is of special importance for small-scale farmers in developing countries.
  8. Alternatives investments schemes in agriculture should be developed for public and private investments funds, foundations and other private investments (except from the farmers themselves) in sustainable agriculture which benefit the smallscale farmers, and at the same time can give an acceptable financial return to the investors.
  9. Increased investments should be tailored to directly benefit small-scale farmers. Investors with social and environmental aspirations should be encouraged to support and invest in small-scale agroecological and other forms of sustainable agriculture.
  10. Investments in agriculture tend to increase agricultural specialization. It would be important to ensure that novel models of inclusive investment do not undermine the local food production for home consumption and instead reinforce the diversity and adaptability of the farms.
  11. New schemes should pay particular attention to climate mitigation and adaptation and facilitate the access to practices that can be beneficial.
  12. Special consideration should be given to the importance of investments that increase the autonomy of the communities rather than the dependence to the credit institutions.
  13. Investments dedicated to small-scale food producers should pay particular attention to the farmers’ rights, especially access to land, social and labour rights.
  14. Special attention should be paid to the role of women and youth in the investment schemes.

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