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 181 – 192 of 204

Private Sector Development in South-West Serbia

01.06.2017 - 31.12.2023

The Private Sector Development (PSD) South-West Serbia Programme supports the development of more inclusive, equitable and non-discriminatory market systems, through interventions in the sectors of traditional products (raspberry and honey) and tourism. This will provide rural population and specifically young people and women, access to employment and income opportunities, as well as improved access to finance, social benefits and know-how.


Emergency response to address malnutrition through improved nutrition, mental health and care practices in Maungdaw District, Rakhine State

01.05.2017 - 31.05.2018

The violence that took place on October 9 2016, and the ensuing insecurity across Northern Rakhine State (NRS), resulted in the suspension of humanitarian services in the area. Many of the affected people missed out on their seasonal food assistance, school feeding and regular nutrition support for at least three months, resulting in a significant negative impact on the food security, health and nutritional status, and mental health of vulnerable families. With this emergency response, Action Contre la Faim (ACF) will address increased malnutrition through an integrated program, which aims to reduce child and Pregnant and Lactating Women (PLW) undernutrition, mortality and morbidity.


Soutien au Dispositif National de Sécurité Alimentaire -PRESA-

01.05.2017 - 31.12.2022

Malgré l’excédent céréalier enregistré depuis plus de 20 ans, le Mali fait face à des crises alimentaires récurrentes qui touchent près du quart de la population. La Suisse soutient le Dispositif National de Sécurité Alimentaire par la combinaison des instruments de l’aide humanitaire et de développement en vue de gérer les crises alimentaires et renforcer la résilience des populations vulnérables. Cet appui contribuera à la stabilité du pays et de la sous-région et a le potentiel de réduire la migration forcée.


Reform and Development of Markets, Value Chains and Producers’ Organisations

Reform and development of markets, value chains and producers’ organisations, occupied Palestinian territory

01.03.2017 - 31.12.2022

Private sector-led agriculture and agribusiness in the Palestinian occupied territory (oPT) can play a key role in building a resilient economy towards economic growth and in safeguarding rights and entitlements to natural resources and markets. This program aims at improving income and productivity in the agriculture sector, through improved access to markets, increased share of local market, enhanced competitiveness and profitability of Palestinian agribusinesses.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Palestinian Authority
Agriculture & food security
Agricultural development
Agricultural policy
Agricultural co-operatives & farmers’ organisations

01.03.2017 - 31.12.2022


CHF  3’000’000



FAO: Improved production, availability and access to nutritious food for vulnerable people in north-eastern Nigeria

01.03.2017 - 30.04.2018

Improve the production, availability and access to nutritious food for vulnerable IDPs, returnees and host communities in north-eastern Nigeria by the provision of agricultural production inputs such as seeds, tools and fertilizer. The provision of agricultural production will complement the emergency food assistance provided by the WFP and enable farmers to produce enough food, as well as to meet the most vulnerable households’ immediate food needs.


Improved food security, nutritional status and incomes among vulnerable households in Juba, South Sudan

01.02.2017 - 31.12.2018

In the current context of economic stress and limited supply of food due to disruption of the main supply routes, urban and peri-urban agriculture in and around areas of Juba provides livelihood opportunities for food production and income generation. The deteriorating situation calls for a two-pronged approach of boosting the agricultural production of nutritious commodities and improving access to the most vulnerable groups who may not be able to produce for their own consumption.


Sustainable Livelihood and Disaster Mitigation (SLDM)

01.02.2017 - 30.06.2022

The intervention works on the nexus of DRR, food security and agroforestry and successor programme of the Sloping Land Management programme (SLM). Building on SLM, food security remains central, but DRR is the principle concern of the domain of intervention. Combining food security and DRR increases the scope to work holistically towards sustaining the resources on which livelihoods depend. The emphasis on sustainable food production addresses the humanitarian needs of communities. Coupling this with a focus on community action serves to enlarge the scope for groups and individuals to act more autonomously.


Programme d’Hydraulique Rurale – Appui Au Secteur Eau et Assainissement (PHRASEA) Phase 2

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2022

Moins de 50% des nigériens ont accès à l’eau potable et seuls 7% disposent de conditions d'assainissement de base. La croissance démographique galopante, la dispersion de la population sur le territoire et la précarité des finances publiques sont des contraintes empêchant l'accès des populations à ces services de base. Le PHRASEA vient en appui aux efforts du gouvernement, en misant sur la maitrise d’ouvrage des communes.


Programme d’appui à une gouvernance agricole inclusive en Haiti (PAGAI) - Phase 1

01.07.2016 - 31.07.2022

Le PAGAI vise l’amélioration de la sécurité alimentaire et du revenu des exploitations agricoles à travers un meilleur accès des producteurs-trices à des services, des innovations susceptibles d’augmenter la performance et la rentabilité économique de l’agriculture familiale en Haïti. L’expérience et l’expertise reconnues de la Suisse dans le renforcement des petites exploitations agricoles permettra l’accompagnement de 10'000 exploitants-tes agricoles et de 30 organisations paysannes dans le Sud d’Haïti afin qu’ils puissent mieux se structurer, jouer des fonctions économiques plus importantes dans les filières agricoles et mieux intégrer les espaces de prise de décision.


Programme d’appui à la commercialisation du bétail en Afrique de l’Ouest (PACBAO)

01.07.2016 - 30.06.2023

L’élevage et les marchés des produits animaux contribuent à l’intégration régionale et à la sécurité alimentaire en Afrique de l’Ouest. La Suisse soutient la Communauté Economique des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CEDEAO) et le secteur privé de la région afin de fluidifier les échanges des produits animaux entre les 15 Etats plus le Tchad. La finalité est d’accroitre le revenu des éleveurs, développer des emplois surtout pour les femmes et les jeunes et favoriser une transhumance apaisée dans la région.



Swiss Bluetec Bridge: Swiss start-ups benefit disadvantaged populations

11.02.2016 - 31.05.2024

In addition to the sustainable management of resources and good governance, water-related challenges open up a wide field for technological innovation, particularly in the application of nanotechnologies for water treatment, especially ones which are energy-efficient. The challenge for Swiss Bluetec Bridge is to put these cutting-edge 'Swiss' technologies at the service of the poor and ensure that they are sustainably managed. To do this the project must seek to bridge the gap between public support for start-ups and private investment.

Object 181 – 192 of 204