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Investment in marginal farmers needed

A report published by Concern Worldwide demands that small-scale farmers in developing countries must be at the centre of efforts to defeat poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. However, marginal farmers are currently given low priority by governments.

Overseas aid to agriculture has declined dramatically in the last 25 years. Research from Concern Worldwide argues against this approach and calls for more support of marginal farmers.

Margins of society

Most of the world’s poor and hungry people live on small farms. Most of these farm less than two hectares of land. They live on the margins of society – often without access to markets – and struggle to make a decent living.

Overcoming hunger

Their marginalisation is increased by the tendency of national governments and donors to focus on farmers who are better-off and are considered to have more potential to increase national income.

But poorer farmers have shown that when they do receive support, they can increase output and overcome hunger. Women farmers in Andhra Pradesh, India, for example, have increased crop production on their lands by over 300% using a variety of low cost, simple methods.

This report makes the following recommendations:

  • Provide marginal farmers with appropriate services and assistance
  • Increase participation of small farmers in decision-making
  • Involve marginal farmers in the policy processes that affect them
  • Supplement agricultural investment