Private sector actors are key partners in enabling smallholder farmers to achieve better market access. This includes producers, processors and retailers, right the way across the value chain, and of all sizes. In 2015, the prominence of the global food security agenda at the UN represents an opportunity to increase the momentum of investment and innovation in the food chain, so that smallholder farmers can be empowered to be successful and productive food producers.
Smallholder agriculture is the backbone of the economy in many developing countries, yet at the same time, farmers represent a disproportionate part of the world’s hungry and poor. Allowing smallholder farmers to improve their livelihoods, to take advantage of new commercial opportunities, and to break the subsistence cycle is therefore an important pathway to achieving food security. Key to doing this is to enhance their productivity and their participation in markets and value chains so that they can participate more competitively in local, regional, and national markets.
All forms of private enterprise – domestic business, foreign investment and international trade – require an operating environment conducive to growth and development, including: peace and stability, the rule of law, good governance with accountability and transparency, the absence of corruption, adequate infrastructure, an educated workforce, clear property rights and enforceable contracts.
To ensure that increased market participation has concrete benefits for smallholders, a farmer-centered approach is necessary. Investment is desperately needed firstly at the level of farmers themselves in primary production capacity, and secondly in the surrounding physical, legal and commercial environments. Smallholders cannot participate effectively in markets if they are not equipped with access to inputs, inputs, finance and credit, storage and professional advice; as well as a market to deliver their production.
The PSM Working Group on Access of Smallholders to Markets covered the following CFS activities relating to Smallholders:
- CFS High-Level Forum on Connecting Smallholders to Markets
- HLPE report: “Investing in Smallholder Agriculture for Food Security” (PDF)
- Policy Roundtable: How to Increase Food Security and Smallholder-Sensitive Investment in Agriculture (PDF)
CFS Recommendations on Connecting Smallholders to Markets
Consensus on a final draft of CFS recommendations on connecting smallholders to markets was reached after lengthy and difficult negotiations. The PSM was represented by Katy Lee of the International Grain Trade Coalition, and Paulina Ceballos and Brian Baldwin of the PSM Secretariat. They worked tirelessly to ensure that the draft reflected the importance of international markets, technology, innovation, infrastructure, business knowledge and entrepreneurship.
Review the final draft:CFS Recommendations on Connecting Smallholders to Markets