Smallholder and family farming

Smallholder farming family in a cabbage field in Honduras
Small farms produce almost half of the world’s food needs. © SDC/Fritz R. Staehelin

Smallholders and family farms play a key role in feeding the world's growing population and creating and preserving jobs in rural areas. They can also help to stem migration. In order to stay in business, smallholders need access to stable markets, infrastructure adapted to their needs, and access to education, training and financial and information services. The SDC helps them to adapt to change and to boost production in a sustainable way.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations  defines smallholders as small-scale farmers, pastoralists, forest keepers and fishers who manage areas of less than 10 hectares. Smallholder farms are characterised by family-focused motives and it is the families who are responsible for everything from production to farm maintenance. Part of what is produced is consumed by the family itself. Smallholder farming is about a third less productive than large-scale farming. Despite this fact – or indeed because of it – Switzerland is convinced that supporting smallholder and family farming contributes to alleviating world hunger and poverty.

The SDC's support for smallholders and family farms in developing countries mainly consists of assisting them to adapt to climate change, to changing available means and methods of production, as well as to new market demands in order to boost and improve their production.

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Current projects

Object 169 – 175 of 175

Contribution to the Pan African Bean Research Alliance PABRA

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2022

The greatest global challenge today is how to ensure food and nutrition security of a rapidly growing human population, considering climate change and without adversely affecting the natural base upon which the production is dependent. Beans, as the most important consumed grain legume, are a very good source of vitamins, minerals, and plant derived micronutrients. Significant yield increase of more than 60% are possible, following access to and use of improved varieties coupled with integrated crop management practices.


Programme d’Appui au Secteur de l’Elevage au Mali – PASEM

01.12.2014 - 30.11.2022

Malgré son importance dans l’économie, l’environnement et les sociétés (agro)pastorales, l’élevage rencontre plusieurs contraintes dont la faible productivité, l’insécurité foncière, la faible organisation des acteurs et une forme de marginalisation sociale des éleveurs. La DDC souhaite valoriser les immenses potentialités de l’élevage en renforçant l’approche chaine de valeurs orientée vers le développement des marchés et des acteurs du secteur privé, favorisant la prise en compte des pauvres, des femmes et des jeunes.



Institutional Strengthening of IGAD

31.05.2014 - 31.03.2022

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is a sub-regional organization in the Horn of Africa. In line with Switzerland’s decision to increase its engagement with IGAD, the proposed contribution aims at strengthening the organization institutionally based on its political legitimacy, thematic relevance and capacity to contribute to peace and development in one of the world’s most fragile regions.


Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development - Research Module on Ecosystems

15.05.2013 - 31.12.2023

Enhancing sustainable and climate-friendly use and management of ecosystems for human well-being is at the core of a new research module in the context of SDC’s and the Swiss National Science Foundation’s (SNSF) joint r4d Program (Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development; www.r4d.ch). Researchers from Switzerland with their partners in Africa, Asia, and Latin America will jointly generate new insights and develop innovative concepts and tools for a more sustainable and equitable provision of ecosystem services benefiting the poor.


Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development - Research Module on Food Security

15.05.2013 - 31.12.2023

Achieving food security remains a global challenge. The SDC’s and the Swiss National Science Foundation’s (SNSF) joint r4d Program (Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development; www.r4d.ch) will promote research and innovation in agricultural and food systems to enhance food security in the context of global sustainable development. Researchers from Switzerland with their partners in Africa, Asia, and Latin America will jointly generate new insights and approaches that contribute to meet the global demand for food in an environmentally and socially sustainable way.


Object 169 – 175 of 175