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Question of the Week 5

What are the 3 major investment opportunities in small-scale agriculture that could promote agricultural growth and increased farmer income?

Reactions (12)

Niels Louwaars - Plantum
2016-08-2 15:23

access to markets is the basis in my view (purely subsistence farming – without off-farm employment – is too risky and not sustainable)

access to credit (on reasonable terms)

supply of adapted inputs (notably seeds)


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Agnieszka Kazimierczuk - ASCL
2016-08-2 19:21

1. Less labels/certifications. An aligned major standard instead that also recognise small-holders and allows them gradual improvements

2. Value addition in country of origin (esp. processing)

3. Improved post-harvest infrastructure (incl. storage facilities, waste management, transportation)


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Diana Quiroz - ILEIA - Centre for learning on sustainable agriculture
2016-08-2 20:15

– Organic food produced by small and family farmers and cooperatives in public procurement programmes

– Pricing production based on its real cost (including externalities of industrial production)

– Public policies that promote economies of scale

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Selim Reza Hasan - Solidaridad
2016-08-3 10:04

Investment in sustainable landscape approach for towards promoting best practices for land and water resources use, climate change adaption and mitigation, biodiversity conservation and empowerment of local communities for improving food security, income and developing resilient livelihoods of the smallholders. The landscape approach need to take into consideration for developing robust infrastructure for creating access to resources, services, quality of inputs and financial capital. This also includes investment in ICT to access to informatio... read more »

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Edith van Walsum - ILEIA - Centre for Learning on Sustainable Agriculture
2016-08-3 16:05

Increasing organic matter content in the soil together with water harvesting techniques, mulching and landscape management techniques are the most effective ways of increasing the productivity and resilience of small-scale family farms.

Every technical investment must be accompanied by an investment in the cocreation of knowledge and skills by small-scale farmers (F+M), scientists and other key actors. Link: read more »

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David Betge - FU Berlin
2016-08-3 17:13

What has not been mentioned so far is rural infrastructure. From what I have gathered over the years working on land and farming infrastructure like roads, irrigation and possibilties for food storage are among the most important investment oppotunities, in particular from the perspective of smallholder farmers.

Issues like credit or the labelling of products are secondary if there is no transport infrastructure. Credit to individual farmers will not be spent on building roads. Market access again is only part of the solution as long as prod... read more »

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David Betge - FU Berlin
2016-08-3 17:21

PS. Somehow is couldn’t see Agniezka’s and Selim’s answers who go in a very similar direction of what I have posted, while Selim’s input particularly goes beyond that, which I find very interesting. Even though I would stick to the argument that the three primary investment areas should be roads, irrigation and storage, while I think that the sustainable landscape approach goes beyond such ‘basic’ measures.

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Melle Leenstra - Food Security Cluster, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (IGG)
2016-08-3 22:08

1) appropriate technologies, 2) skills and 3) land

-First of all it is important for SME farmers to treat their farming as a business: measuring, recording and monitoring productivity and profitability. This should be the starting point for investing in appropriate technologies targeting their binding constraints.

-Second it is important for SME farmers to invest in the skills needed for farming as a business. Search out and weigh good advice from successful peers, extention officers, media and private se... read more »

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Million Belay - MELCA - Ethiopia
2016-08-4 15:52

I have the community in Ethiopia in mind when writing this: 
1- Training. Focused, repeated, purposeful training for farmers in the techniques of agroecology. This MUST be followed with financial support to implement what they were trained for. The financial support may not be hand-out but it can take so many forms. 
2- For those farmers hooked into high input or industrial agriculture and interested to change, support for transition. This can take many forms including meeting their livelihood goals. 
3- Diversification. Should be contextu... read more »

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Mersha - MELCA-Ethiopia
2016-08-5 07:35

– Training and technical support for small scale farmers on how to enhance productivity of ecological farming at small scale and the social and economic advantages of being engaged in ecological farming

– Promotion of organic natural food for healthy people

– Diversification of farm products so as to secure increased return for farmers from their small land holdings

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Prof. Jane Mariara - University of Nairobi and Partnership for Economic Policy.
2016-08-6 11:11

1). Farmers training/sensitization/provision of agricultural extension services

2). Adoption of new technologies

3). Institutional development – reduce transactions costs and improve  market access


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2016-08-12 17:50

Dear colleagues,

Thank you for your many, and diverse, contributions. It is good to see that not only there are many angles used to answer this question, but also to see them based within research performed by your organisations.  As you may have read within the 'Featured answer': in compiling an answer to the question, the INCLUDE secretariat has used your various contributions to formulated concrete policy suggestions in different categories. These categories include investments that can be implemented directly, investments that require a ... read more »

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