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Fertile ground : how governments and donors can halve hunger by supporting small farmers

Document type: report
Download file(s): 448438 (1412 KB)
Abstract: In the lead up to the MDG+10 Review Summit, ActionAid released this report, which emphasizes that “empowering local farmers to produce more food for local markets is the bedrock of global food security” and thus can effectively contribute to halving world hunger (MDG1). In addition, investing in agriculture has a very positive effect on reducing poverty. The report notes that recent research shows “that growth in agriculture can make twice the impact on poverty as growth in other sectors, both through its direct impact on raising the incomes of the large numbers of the poor who live in rural areas, and through the strong links between agriculture and other parts of the economy.” The report also underlines that small farmers are responsible for 90 per cent of the food grown in Africa and produce about half the world’s food supply. However, they are as well the ones that go hungry as about three-quarters of the hungry people around the globe are small farmers and the landless in rural areas. Based on extensive research and interviews with several hundred farmers in Uganda, Kenya and Malawi, as well as on an extensive global literature review, Fertile Ground examines the level and quality of current government and donor spending in areas critical to smallholder farmers. It finds that – after years of decline in the 1980s and 1990s – there is today an increased international interest to re-invest in agriculture. “Spending by African governments on agriculture actually doubled between 2000 and 2005.” It adds “where promises to support smallholders are being kept, the results are very good indeed.” However, more resources are needed to effectively and sustainable address hunger, poverty and environmental degradation. “Too few governments are meeting the African Union target of allocating 10 per cent of their budgets to agriculture, and none is prioritising support to the women farmers whose role lies at the heart of food security,” the report warns. The report calls for large-scale investment in small-scale agriculture, preferably with a focus on low-cost, ecologically sustainable and climate resilient methods of increasing productivity. It informs that still too often preference is given to costly, chemical-intensive approaches that often benefit richer farmers most, and can do environmental damage.
Authors: Curtis, M.
Country: Kenya , Malawi , Uganda
Category: Research
Keywords: agriculture , empowerment , environmental degradation , poverty , private sector , women
Language: eng
Organization: ActionAid Nederland
PAGE: 64
Place: London
Publisher: ActionAid UK
Year: 2010
Region: East Africa
Right: © 2010 ActionAid UK
Subject: Agriculture and Rural Development
Title: Fertile ground : how governments and donors can halve hunger by supporting small farmers