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Financial Times Examines Needs Of Smallholder Farmers In Developing Countries

Reflecting on USAID’s plans to reduce reliance on food aid to fight global hunger by investing in agricultural development through microloans, the Financial Times examines the needs of smallholder farmers throughout the world. The piece looks at the role that lenders and large suppliers can play in assisting smallholder farmers and ways to maximize the relationships between farmers and these groups.

In an effort to improve conditions for local farmers, “many microfinance institutions and non-governmental organisations are starting to package loans with other financial products, such as insurance and savings schemes, as well as education and training programmes,” the newspaper writes. The piece highlights how two such programs operate in Malawi and Kenya.

The article notes the unique challenges women face in trying to obtain land for farming and details additional initiatives aimed at increasing farmers’ access to agricultural insurance and protecting farmers from the impacts of climate change. The piece includes comments by agricultural and microfinance experts.

“Ensuring food security means helping farmers in developing countries not only to feed themselves and their communities, but to contribute to the international supply chain,” the newspaper writes (Murray, 6/2).