What works to increase smallholder farmers’ income? A landscape review
This report (PDF), by Dalberg and Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation is a first step in answering the question: “What are the most effective actions that lead buyers can take to enable smallholder farmers in global supply chains to meaningfully increase their incomes?”. Results showed that it is possible to raise farmer incomes through existing interventions to a degree. Across the most successful interventions and case studies identified, the researchers noted four critical success factors. These success factors include bundling services, connecting deeply with farmers, customizing interventions, and partnering with governments, civil society actors, and peers. Lead buyers can consider incorporating these factors as they seek to reinforce and enhance the success of their strategy. However, this landscape review did not identify any interventions that performed strongly across all four of our selected criteria – a step-change in income, sustained over time, and reached male, as well as female farmers at scale. Across the interventions examined, three were found to raise incomes more than 50% across contexts. Although these increases are of value, in many markets, farmers may need increases of 100-200% to achieve a decent income. Going forward, further exploration and action is needed in a number of areas, in particular: 1) Better understanding and more successfully addressing the systemic barriers farmers face, which the unique sector and supply chain dynamics at a systems level and the role they play in influencing farmer incomes and the unique constraints and potential of female farmers in driving the necessary change. 2) Creating actionable tools that enable lead buyers and their partners to diagnose the relevant barriers and systemic dynamics in a given supply chain and to identify and activate the most appropriate strategy and portfolio of interventions with the highest potential to drive desired impact in a given context.
A project page of this research can be found here.