Purchase for Progress
Across the world, smallholder farmers produce much of the food that lands on people’s plates – feeding up to 80 percent of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Yet for most, going beyond mere subsistence is an uphill struggle. Exposed to extreme weather phenomena brought on by climate change and to progressive land degradation, they lack the means to invest in productive, sustainable farming methods.
The use of traditional, often rudimentary, storage leaves crops at the mercy of pests, and vulnerable to heat and humidity. The loss of harvested crops – which can reach 30 percent in sub-Saharan Africa – means a loss of income. It also means wasting all the valuable resources – land, water, labour– invested in their production.
Crucially, access to formal markets – which could be an incentive for smallholder farmers to invest in their business – remains elusive for reasons that include low production and productivity, as well as structural deficiencies such as lack of transport and infrastructure.