16 Apr 21 | Weekly podcast
Leading brands have worked out that smallholder farmers can hold the key to sustainable supply chains
In sustaining a plethora of sectors, commodities and companies, they are an incredibly important group. It’s a view shared by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Its latest Commodities and Development Report 2015 says smallholder farmers deserve more attention from policymakers to unleash their full business potential.
Smallholder farmers are up against it. In the face of political unrest, poverty and erratic weather patterns caused by a changing climate, the number of environmental, social and economic hurdles they must jump just gets bigger.
As UNCTAD argues, global poverty affects smallholders disproportionately and so achieving poverty reduction goals will “require taking a fresh look at how policies must be designed and coordinated” so as to cater to the needs of the smallholder farmer.
Unlock the potential
The good news is: there’s loads of potential to unlock. Smallholdings are usually a family affair, run in a fairly rudimentary and inefficient way. A small improvement to the performance of 100 farms would have a huge overall impact.
Finance the key
More and more companies get it right with the development of new financing mechanisms to help farmers plan for the future, giving farmers training to boost productivity and improving smallholder access to market to get better prices for their crops. The work of Nestlé in cocoa, tea and coffee (working with NGOs such as TechnoServe), as well as John Lewis in cotton (working with CottonConnect), are good examples.
If you've any comments, do get in touch at [email protected]