About 600 million people in the world go hungry and do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life, most of them are living in rural areas. In addition, two billion people suffer from malnutrition. Poverty and a lack of access to food are the current main causes of food insecurity. A growing world population and rising incomes lead to a higher demand for agricultural products which puts natural resources – land, water and biodiversity – under increasing pressure. New developments such as urbanization, modern technologies, biofuels or large scale investments in land further challenge traditional modes of rural development.
Food security and agriculture play a central role in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG-2 calls for ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition as well as promoting sustainable agriculture until 2030.
Our food security and agriculture programs aim to improve rural livelihoods through sustainably increasing agricultural production and sales thus enhancing food security for the poor. Our programs target farmers and farmer groups, youths, womens, and others in agriculture,enabling them to effectively pursue profitable agricultural activities and escape the cycle of poverty, and engange in community developmental activities.
Our programs has the following priorities:
Increase Productivity and Diversify Production:A cornerstone of working with smallholders is increasing and diversifying production to produce a wide variety of foods that enhance nutritional outcomes and help them become more resilient to shocks. A surplus allows farmers to process or transform their products, adding value and increasing and smoothing their income. We help farmers find the right balance between food and cash crops and utilize climate-smart agriculture practices to enhance resilience to natural and man-made disasters, and access input and extension support. We directly address the gender gap ensuring women have access to productive resources and can reach their potential as producers and entrepreneurs in their own right.
Improve Access to Markets:To improve access to markets, we focus on processing, improving quality, adding value and developing market relationships. Taking a market systems approach means we help producers make what the market demands. We assess value chains in a participatory way to identify needed upgrades, which builds local knowledge and capacity and improves market relationships. Some common interventions include: scaling-up agriculture operations; strengthening farmer cooperatives; linking farmers to buyers and traders; improving access to market information; meeting quality, food safety, and third party certifications; and facilitating horizontal partnerships with business development services; accessing appropriate financial services; among others.
Expand Financial Products and Services:Improving access to financial products and services is extremely important for economic success in agriculture. We focus on both supply and demand sides of providing appropriate financial services. Working directly with smallholders, especially women; we facilitate the organization of community-based savings groups, facilitating the acquisition of literacy, numeracy and financial management skills. We also work with a range of financial institutions to reduce agriculture lending risk through loan guarantee facilities and other mechanisms.