Food production will have to double by 2050 to meet the demand
of the world’s growing population. More crucially, this food
must enter markets to ensure it isn’t wasted.

For this to happen,
major transformations of food systems are required at the global,
national and sub-national levels. In many parts of the world,
smallholder farmers dominate rural agricultural production.


Their potential roles in these essential transformations are
widely recognized. However, smallholder farmers are confronted
by substantial and deeply rooted challenges in reaching formal
markets that can provide better prices for their crops.

These
farmers generally cultivate limited quantities of low-quality crops
on small plots of land, using traditional farming techniques.
Most smallholders lack access to adequate storage facilities,
causing them to lose large portions of their harvest to rot and
mould.

These challenges, coupled with the need for cash to meet
daily needs, lead smallholder farmers to sell directly from the
farm gate straight after harvest, when prices are low and yield
little reward for the farmers’ efforts.


Plus, farmers frequently purchase more food than they sell. To
generate higher incomes, smallholders need to achieve higher
crop yields and sell larger surpluses.

Without significant changes
in these conditions, smallholder farmers will be unable to
contribute to meeting the global food production and marketing
challenges of the future.

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