Production, advisory services and marketing

Two men working in a field, a third stands at the edge of the field with a notebook in his hand, watching.
The SDC promotes smallholder and family farms and as part of its work is committed to ensuring they have access to advice and innovative practices. © SDC

According to United Nations forecasts, the world's population will be around 9 billion by 2050. Managing natural resources responsibly while increasing food production is therefore a top priority. The SDC is already active in supporting sustainable agriculture, smallholder farms and research, with a particular emphasis on women and young people.

The SDC's focus

The SDC sees the potential in smallholder and family farms to reduce hunger and malnutrition. Thus the SDC promotes improved access for smallholder farmers to productive resources, facilitates advice tailored to their needs and assists them with marketing.

The SDC particularly endeavours to promote women as producers and market participants. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), women perform a substantial proportion of agricultural work – around 50% in Africa and Asia. However, they often do not have adequate access to land and productive resources, so their crop yields are around 20–30% lower than men's. According to the FAO, empowering women could reduce hunger in developing countries by as much as 17%. To make use of this untapped potential and facilitate market access for women and young people, the SDC supports services targeted specifically at female smallholder farmers and the transfer of knowledge on production enhancement techniques.

The SDC also recognises the importance of good education and training for young farmers of both genders, and supports education and training programmes to this end.

Research, innovation and advisory services

Innovation in agriculture and advisory services geared to the needs of smallholder farmers are key to eradicating poverty and hunger. The SDC is committed to this approach. Areas targeted for innovation and advisory services include plant cultivation, animal husbandry, markets, financing and partnerships with the private sector.

Representing the concerns of smallholder farmers in policy dialogue

The SDC is involved in forging an international framework that supports smallholder agriculture, in order to improve access to productive resources such as capital, seeds, land and water for smallholder farmers worldwide. Among other things, it participates in the development of seed regulations and international trade provisions. The SDC also works to strengthen farmer organisations so that they can offer their members better services and represent their concerns more effectively at a political level.

Agroecology for sustainable production

To boost production while also promoting the responsible use of natural resources on smallholder farms, the SDC supports forms of agriculture that adhere to the FAO's Elements of Agroecology. This entails conserving natural resources with virtually no need for external inputs such as pesticides and fertilisers. Compost, for instance, reuses nutrients and biomass, and maintains soil fertility. A good mix of arable and livestock production not only preserves biodiversity but also provides the variety of food necessary for a healthy diet. In Africa, for example, the SDC supports the African Union's initiative to mainstream ecological agriculture into national production systems by 2025.

Improvements along the entire value chain

The SDC works with farmers, advisers, the private sector and policymakers to establish business models that benefit the poorest and ease the participation for smallholder farmers in the market. The main objective is to increase productivity sustainably and ensure equal participation in agricultural value chains by means of better marketing opportunities. A primary focus for the SDC is reducing harvest and post-harvest losses along production, distribution and consumption channels. This means raising awareness that food systems extend from agricultural production through to consumption, via storage, distribution and marketing. This is to be considered as a basis for sustainable forms of agriculture. Through such cooperation, the SDC also promotes access to affordable and healthy agricultural produce for all.

Background

By 2050, there will be about 9 billion people in the world. At the same time, arable land, grazing areas and water resources are becoming scarcer. Agricultural systems capable of supplying the world's population with adequate quantities of nutritious food are needed.

While in Europe food losses occur mostly at the end of the food chain, for example in supermarkets, restaurants or consumer households, in developing countries it happens at earlier stages. The reasons for this are inadequate harvesting, processing and storage methods, as well as a lack of market access. The FAO's 2011 study Global Food Losses and Food Waste found that countries in sub-Saharan Africa were losing up to 170kg of food per person per year due to these aspects. Since then, that has not substantially changed.

According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), there are approximately 500 million smallholder farmers worldwide, with smallholder agriculture being the livelihood of more than 2 billion people. These family farms produce around half of the world's food and over 70% of the food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Climate change, natural disasters and economic changes are impeding the work of smallholder farmers. Smallholders are forced to adapt their production methods to changing and unpredictable conditions. They are thus reliant on research and advisory services. In the SDC's view, such services are successful if they take into account traditional and local know-how. The Swiss agricultural sector is a role model here, with its multifunctional, family-based and environmentally-friendly food production geared to social and regional balance.

Focus on smallholder farms

In three short films, learn how smallholders and family farms cope with challenges such as rising food prices and the effects of climate change.

'Can we feed the world?'

Over the next 30 years, the world's population is set to increase from 7 to around 9 billion people. More than 820 million people go hungry today. Three quarters of them live in rural areas and largely depend on farming for their livelihood. At the same time, food prices are rising, which has a particularly negative impact on people living in poverty in food-importing countries. Global changes in food production and distribution are necessary.

Film: 'Can we feed the world?'

 

'Today's reality of smallholder farms'

Through the story of the Traoré family in West Africa, the film provides an insight into the life of smallholder farmers in developing countries. The film shows how poorly functioning markets, insufficient opportunities for education, training and information, the effects of climate change, and poor access to land and water prevent family farms from realising their full potential.

Film: 'Today's reality of smallholder farms'

 

'Realising the potential of smallholder farming'

For smallholder farmers to be able to make a substantive contribution to food security, they must be able to expand their production beyond their own needs to meet market demand. The film recounts the SDC's efforts on behalf of smallholder farmers with regard to land rights, information and rural development.

Film: 'Realising the potential of smallholder farming'

Documents

Current projects

Object 25 – 36 of 189

Contribution to the UN-REDD Pro-gramme (single phase)

15.12.2020 - 31.12.2025

Forests are a central solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, their sustainable management is an imperative for the planet but also for millions of vulnerable people. The UN-REDD Programme is a key player in accelerating the implementation of appropriate policies and actions in tropical low and lower-middle income countries to reduce deforestation and restore forests. The contribution will allow for a strong Swiss engagement jointly with the Federal Office of the Environment, and for the capitalization of existing work of the four SDC domains on forest ecosystems and related livelihoods.


Covid-19 Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (single phase)

01.12.2020 - 31.12.2022

Established by The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) addresses immediate impacts of the Covid 19 pandemic on rural people, prevents the erosion of results from past and ongoing operations, and puts in place building blocks to support post crisis recovery and long term resilience. As an IFAD member state, Switzerland joins international efforts with this time-bound response to prevent the health crisis from turning into a food crisis.


Aceli Africa

01.11.2020 - 31.10.2025

Aceli Africa is a market-led platform to catalyse finance for credit-constrained East African businesses along selected agricultural value chains that offer the best potential for income and job creation, food security and nutrition, gender inclusiveness, and promotion of climate-smart and agro-ecological smallholder agriculture. Key Swiss added values are the up-scaling of social impact financial instruments pioneered by SDC with partners, the involvement of the largest Swiss private impact investor, and the focus on two SDC priority countries.


Upgrading Karm Abu Salem Crossing - Gaza

01.10.2020 - 31.12.2022

Switzerland will support improving the export/import conditions of goods to and from the Gaza Strip.

The project, implemented by UNOPS, will upgrade the poor infrastructure at the Palestinian side of

the only functioning commercial crossing between Gaza and Israel. The existing infrastructure con-

ditions are causing around 10% of damages to the transiting commodities thus incurring substantial

economic losses that are affecting the living conditions of two million people in the Gaza Strip


Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC)

01.08.2020 - 31.07.2024

Vector-borne neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and malaria are major causes of mortality, morbidity and lack of economic progress for the poorest. Targeting the vector (mosquito) is a main eradication approach. Due to climate change and natural mutation, insecticide resistance is affecting most malaria endemic countries. The Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC) is the world-leader Product Development Partnership developing innovative and safe insecticides. SDC strategic support to IVCC complements Switzerland’s global action against malaria. 


Smallholder Safety Net Up-scaling Pro-gramme (SSNUP)

01.07.2020 - 31.12.2023

Smallholder Safety Net Up-scaling Programme is a multi-donor public private partnership to support small and medium agribusiness enterprises, farmer organisations and financial intermediaries in providing effective services to their smallholder farmer customers and members, thereby reducing their farm and livelihood risks. The programme will lead to higher incomes and more jobs notably for women as well as increased food security, contributing to improved livelihoods of an estimated 3 million smallholder households applying more sustainable farm practices.


Programme de renforcement de la résilience des ménages pastoraux et agropastoraux face aux crises climatiques et à l'insécurité (RESILIA) Phase 1

01.06.2020 - 31.12.2024

la DDC contribue au renforcement de la résilience de plus de 700’000 personnes dont les déplacées internes, affectées par la crise sécuritaire et les changements climatiques au Burkina Faso. Se basant sur la riche expérience de la Suisse dans l’élevage pastoral au Sahel, le programme va soutenir les pasteurs et agropasteurs pour que leur pratique d’élevage et moyens de subsistance s’adaptent aux défis climatiques et améliorent leurs conditions de vie tout en favorisant la paix au Burkina Faso.


Nutrition in City Ecosystems (NICE)

01.06.2020 - 31.07.2025

The Nutrition in City Ecosystems (NICE) project aims to improve nutrition and health, and to reduce poverty by increasing the demand and supply of diverse, agroecologically produced foods. Implemented by a Swiss public private consortium, NICE focusses on women, youth and vulnerable populations. City governments in two secondary cities each in Bangladesh, Kenya and Rwanda will be supported, and learning between cities, incl. Swiss cities, will be facilitated to contribute to the global discourse on sustainable food systems. 


Accès aux bénéficiaires en Afrique de l’Ouest

01.06.2020 - 31.12.2023

Dans un contexte d’insécurité civile et alimentaire croissante, aggravée par la crise économique et sanitaire due au Covid-19, seul le service aérien humanitaire des Nations Unies (UNHAS) permet d’accéder aux populations grâce à un transport sûr et rapide d’acteurs et de biens humanitaires et de développement. La contribution à UNHAS permettra d’atteindre les populations vulnérables dans les régions reculées, d’assurer le suivi des programmes suisses et de rendre compte sur ces derniers.


CROPS4HD - Consumption of Resilient Or-phan Crops & Products for Healthier Diets

01.06.2020 - 30.06.2025

The agroecological production and sale of neglected and underutilized species offers nutritional and health benefits for consumers, market opportunities for farmers and contribute to the sustainable use of biodiversity and climate change adaptation. In Chad, Niger, Tanzania and India and globally, SDC supports SWISSAID and its partners in establishing agroecological food and seed systems. FiBL, the leading Swiss Research Institute of Organic Agriculture supports this endeavour with scientific evidence.


Programme d’Appui au Secteur du Développement Rural (Wusua Dabu) - PASDeR

01.05.2020 - 30.04.2024

Au Bénin, l’agriculture constitue la principale source d’emploi et de revenu. Des reformes ont été initiées par le gouvernement pour promouvoir les filières agricole et animale. Se basant sur les acquis des phases précédentes, la DDC vise à mettre à l’échelle le programme en élargissant la zone géographique d’intervention sur tout le Nord et d’augmenter le nombre de filières cibles, tout en s’inscrivant dans une approche plus économique et créatrice d’emplois pour les jeunes et les femmes.


Programme d’Appui au Plaidoyer des Faîtières des Organisations Socio-professionnelles Agricoles (AP/OSP)

01.05.2020 - 30.04.2024

L’agriculture constitue la principale source d’emploi et de revenu au Bénin. Or, les réformes dans le secteur de l’agriculture ne sont pas encore toutes définies de commun accord avec tous les acteurs. La Suisse contribue au renforcement institutionnel et à la gouvernance des faîtières des producteurs et éleveurs afin que ces derniers puissent mieux jouer leurs rôles d’interpellation, de proposition, de participation et de suivi de la mise en œuvre des politiques agricoles.

Object 25 – 36 of 189