Smallholder Market Support
What is smallholder market support? Through the continued and increased bolstering of small-scale producers, it may be the best way to achieve Zero Hunger.

The Zero Hunger Challenge, launched in 2012, combines all five elements of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in an effort to “end hunger, eliminate all forms of malnutrition, and build inclusive and sustainable food systems.”

One of the U.N.’s SDGs is to bring an end to rural poverty by increasing the incomes of small-scale producers and thus increasing their productivity. The success of small-scale farmers is essential to the success of the Zero Hunger Challenge and feeding the growing population. Increasing smallholders’ productivity starts with improving their livelihoods, and this is where smallholder market support comes in.

Smallholder farmers make up the majority of the world’s impoverished people, despite the fact they produce most of the world’s food. Smallholder farmers face many challenges that hinder their capacities. These challenges include a lack of post-harvest management, suitable storage and productive markets or financing. This is not to mention the challenge farmers face in producing enough to make it through the season and generating a small surplus, a goal not easily achieved.

The World Food Programme has developed innovative solutions that has aided two million smallholder farmers in 60 countries in their agricultural development. Two of the most profound solutions include Purchase for Progress (P4P) and Home-Grown School Feeding.

P4P aids in connecting smallholders to larger markets and, in turn, widening their range of crops and broadening business opportunities. Home-Grown School Feeding links domestic smallholders with national schools to supplement their meal systems. Both of these programs, among many other effective agendas implemented, utilize private-sector and government systems to support smallholders.

These efforts are not only humane and ethical–they are sustainable. The question remains for many: what is smallholder market support and why should it be encouraged and funded? Smallholder market support has the long-term ability to turn current recipients of agricultural assistance into our future global food producers. Smallholder market support can eliminate world hunger within our lifetimes.

Catherine Fredette

Photo: Flickr