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.

Links

Documents

Current projects

Object 13 – 24 of 174

KENYA - Strengthening Livestock Sector in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) Counties

01.04.2022 - 31.03.2026

60% of the population in northern Kenya depends on livestock production in an environment of recurrent droughts and natural resource-based conflicts. The programme will contribute to poverty reduction, improved resilience to shocks and enhanced socio-economic inclusion of pastoralist and agro-pastoralist men and women by supporting climate-smart livestock production, improving rangelands management and promoting peaceful coexistence of communities.


Appui à la mise en œuvre de la politique agricole de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (ECOWAP)

01.02.2022 - 31.12.2026

En Afrique de l’Ouest, plus de 64 % de la population a moins de 24 ans. La faiblesse des chaînes de valeur agricoles ne permet pas à ces jeunes d’accéder à des emplois décents. La Suisse soutient la création d’emplois rémunérateurs dans la filière lait local au profit des jeunes. Elle compte sur l’effet levier de son action pour contribuer à réduire l'exode rural et l'émigration non contrôlée et offrir aux jeunes des alternatives à l'adhésion aux groupes violents.


FASL - Food-security and Agricultural Sustainability for Livelihood improvement

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2025

Poverty and food insecurity are widespread all over Afghanistan and even more accentuated after the political change after the takeover of the Taliban in August 2021. Therefore the support of the poorest farmers in the most remote areas by improving and securing their livelihoods is crucial in order to strenghten sustainable natural resources management and the communities’ resilience. It is interwoven with the humanitarian appeal of Aga Khan Foundation supported by Switzerland. 


International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) 12 Core contribution 2022 - 2024

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2024

IFAD aims at transforming rural economies and food systems by making them more inclusive, productive, resilient and sustainable. During 2022-2024, IFAD plans lifting 68 million poor rural women and men out of hunger and poverty, en route to doubling its impact by 2030. IFAD is one of the 15 priority multilateral organizations of the Swiss international cooperation and shares its priorities of leaving no one behind; addressing issues of climate change, nutrition, gender and youth; and engaging more with the private sector and promoting innovation.


Rural Markets

01.01.2022 - 30.09.2023

The political and health crisis in recent years has affected the economic activity of the Family Production Units (UPFs, in Spanish), which is why their resilience needs to be strengthened. The market development approach, applied in phases I and II of the project, has proven its potential to solve major bottlenecks.  In the last phase, the proposal is to consolidate and scale up the achievements in the market systems, as well as of the public and private services supporting them, focusing on knowledge management and sustainability mechanisms.


Improving National Animal Identificationand Traceability Systems (NAITS)

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2025

In Georgia, the livestock sector is dominated by small-scale subsistence farms, using common grazing and increasing the spread of diseases, which reduce productivity and farmers’ incomes. Switzerland has been supporting the authorities to introduce a digital system of animal identification and registration to improve health control since 2016. The system is operational, but further support is needed to ensure that it is effectively used and contributes to increasing competitiveness and farmers’ incomes.


International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Core contribution 2022 - 2024

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2024

CGIAR’ is a global research for development partnership for a food secure future in the fields of agriculture, nutrition, environment and their adaptation to climate change and the enhancement of ecosystem resilience. With its new strategy, governance and research portfolio, the CGIAR has a singular role in providing international and global public goods through high-quality agricultural research, partnership, and leadership in the areas of poverty and hunger reduction.  Switzerland is a founding member of the CGIAR and many Swiss scientific institutions are involved in common research programs. 


International Land Coalition (ILC) Core contribution

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2024

Equitable land rights are key to sustainable and resilient food systems. ILC is a global network of organisations working on people centred land governance in over 80 countries. ILC aims at securing land rights for people, who live on and from the land. SDC supports ILC since it contributes to many Swiss core interests such as peaceful and democratic societies, and addresses growing inequalities in food systems– particularly gender inequality.


LURAS - Lao Upland Rural Advisory Services

01.12.2021 - 30.11.2025

Laos is an agriculture-based country in transition. Farmers in the Northern region require additional knowledge, skills and access to resources to organize themselves within the ongoing agricultural socio-economic changes. Switzerland’s expertise in inclusive economic development, climate change and environment will support rural advisory services during this final phase to sustainably stimulate climate resilient and lasting improvements in agricultural production and income generation for these farmers.


Enhanced resilience of viticulture in Abkhazia

01.12.2021 - 30.11.2026

A vast area in Abkhazia was contaminated by the explosion of an ammunition warehouse in 2017. Clearance efforts supported by international experts are about to be completed, enabling the restoration of the land for agricultural purposes. Endemic grape varieties will be reintroduced fostering biodiversity and resistance to disease. Growers’ resilience to climatic and economic shocks will be enhanced by setting a sector association and training in advanced agricultural practices.


RAPID+ The Kenya Arid Lands Partnership for Integrated Development Plus

01.11.2021 - 31.10.2026

Pastoralist communities in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) have for a very long time adapted to the harsh environments to derive livelihoods (mainly livestock). Communities in the ASALs are facing multiple pressures of climate change, degraded natural resources and conflicts. This program supports the historically marginalised and under-developed pastoralist communities in Northern Kenya to access safe, reliable and affordable Water and manage their rangeland ecosystem sustainably.  


BIOREST - Appui au développement d’une agriculture biologique durable et résiliente dans un contexte de changement climatique en Tunisie

01.11.2021 - 31.10.2025

A travers cette l’intervention, la Suisse consolide les efforts du gouvernement tunisien pour la résilience au changement climatique en accompagnant le développement des systèmes d’agriculture biologiques appliquant les principes de l’agriculture intelligente face au climat. L’appui portera sur les axes de la production végétale et animale, l’encadrement des acteurs et le système de contrôle de l’agriculture biologique. L’approche territoriale adoptée consolide la résilience alimentaire et environnementale des régions ciblées et de la Tunisie.

Object 13 – 24 of 174