Supporting small-scale farmers is key to ending global hunger

In developing countries, farmers with two hectares of land or less make up the majority of the rural workforce and produce most of the food. About half are women. In many countries, women face significant barriers to land ownership, education, and access to farm inputs, credit and markets.

Many small-scale farmers and their families suffer from hunger each year. Working with these farmers to improve their livelihoods is one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty and hunger. We are encouraging Canada to maintain strong support for food security in its international development work, and to deliver high quality programming that meets the needs of smallholder farmers.

What have we accomplished?

Canadian Foodgrains Bank, through its leadership on the Food Security Policy Group, was instrumental in the Canadian government’s decision in 2009 to make agriculture and food security a key priority in its development work, and to double aid for agriculture. When Canada announced work on a new policy framework in 2015, the Foodgrains Bank advocated for a strong role for agriculture and food security and targeting interventions to the most vulnerable, including women and smallholder farmers. When the Feminist International Assistance Policy came out in 2016, we saw evidence that our voice had been heard.

What are we still working on?

Canada took a leadership role in responding to the global food crisis of 2007-08. As part of the G8 L’Aquila Food Security Initiative, Canada doubled its investment in agricultural development between 2008 and 2011. Since then Canada’s aid for agriculture has fallen to pre-2008 levels.  We are now working to reverse that decline and encouraging Canada to boost support for agricultural development.

In 2014, we began work on the Good Soil campaign to strengthen support for small-scale farmers. Through research, policy dialogue and public campaigning, we have demonstrated that agricultural development can be effective in reducing poverty, empowering women, improving nutrition and addressing climate risks.

In 2016, we brought together more than 35 international development organizations and 10 leading Canadian academics to propose a signature investment to support sustainable agriculture and climate change adaptation for small-scale farmers, especially women.

We continue to advocate for increased support for small-scale farmers, especially women, through our Advocate campaign, which first calls for increases to Canadian aid. As part of a larger aid budget, we urge increased investments in sustainable agriculture, especially for women. This will help Canada achieve its goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, as well as global goals including the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.