Building the resilience of smallholders is key

Source: IFPRI

Source: IFPRI

Smallholder farmers in developing countries have a major role to play in helping to meet the future demands of a growing and increasingly rich and urbanized global population. Yet, they are hard hit by multiple shocks that have become more frequent and intense.

In July, I wrote about a new report “From Subsistence to Profit: Transforming Smallholder Farms,” that my coauthors and I published. In the report, we emphasize the importance of increasing the resilience of smallholder farmers to several shocks, such as price and weather shocks. Enhancing their access to risk-management tools and strategies, for example, provides incentives for them to take on productivity-enhancing risks such as the adoption of new technologies.

Along the same line of thinking, IFPRI hosted a roundtable discussion on “Investing in Strengthening the Resilience of Smallholder Farmers” earlier this week. The event was well attended and we had very interesting and thought-provoking discussions. The panelists, myself included, represented different perspectives and shared experiences on a number of issues, such as what works and what does not work to help smallholder farmers be more resilient.

The event is one of a series of lead-in seminars for IFPRI’s next 2020 Conference to be held on May 15-17, 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. For updates on the conference, visit the website “2020 Conference on Building Resilience for Food and Nutrition Security.”