Smallholder farmers & SME’s

Fostering sustainable commercial growth for smallholder farmers

Smallholder farmers & SME’s

Smallholder farmers & SME’s

The majority of the world’s farming is small-scale agriculture. According to the FAO, there are an estimated 600 million smallholder farmers around the world – constituting a significant portion of the agricultural labour force, especially in developing countries. The development of smallholder farming is pivotal, not only because it produces a substantial proportion of the world’s food supply, but also because it sustains rural economies and contributes to national food security.

Despite their crucial role, smallholder farmers and small-scale operators often face extreme adversity. They are frequently located in developing regions, face limited opportunities for commercialisation or growth, and suffer from poor infrastructure, limited access to markets, credit, and modern technologies. Furthermore, they are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, market fluctuations, and regulatory reforms.

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Reducing the technological and financial divide by supporting agricultural development initiatives across the globe.

Benefits of increased smallholder capacity

Building capacity among smallholders could prove critical to tackling environmental, social, and economic challenges. Through external investment, governments and larger enterprises can empower smallholders and capitalise upon their growth. This approach offers numerous benefits for all parties:

Benefits for smallholders:

Equipping smallholders with tools, infrastructure, and information can boost on-farm yield and efficiency. Ultimately this can enhance income, raise families out of poverty, improve regional food security, and protect farms from the threat of climate change and economic shocks.
For governments, NGO’s and DFI’s, investing in smallholders can boost economic growth, reduce food imports, and stabilise national economies. Empowered smallholders and SME’s can address rural poverty, promote self-sustaining rural economies, and encourage social stability by curbing urban migration.

Benefits for private investors:

Private investors gain access to diverse suppliers, reducing supply chain risks and tapping into enticing new markets and products. Furthermore, sourcing products from smallholders is both sustainable and ethical, generating brand and corporate value.
Increasing smallholder capacity promotes sustainable agriculture, reducing environmental degradation. By adopting eco-friendly practices, smallholders contribute to conservation efforts and combat climate change, ensuring the sustainability of farming operations.

Empowering smallholder farmers

We help smallholder farmers transition from small-scale local producers to commercialised and profitable businesses.

Our expertise

At Farrelly Mitchell, we believe in the transformative impact that smallholders and SMEs can have on the food supply chain and the wider agrifood industry.  Our consultants have extensive experience nurturing the growth and development of smallholder farmers and SMEs. We work alongside governments, NGOs, and private investors to introduce modern technologies, promote sustainable practices, and connect small-scale businesses with global markets.

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Frequently asked questions

Explore our FAQ for answers to common agribusiness queries. Can’t find your question? Contact our expert team for tailored assistance.

How many smallholder farmers are there?

There are approximately 500 million smallholder farmers worldwide. They play a crucial role in smallholder farming, especially in developing countries.

Why are smallholder farmers important?

Smallholder farmers are vital for food security and poverty reduction. They contribute significantly to the agricultural sector, often requiring tailored smallholder services for sustainable growth.

How much food is grown by smallholders?

Smallholder farmers produce about 80% of the food consumed in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. This highlights their critical role in the global food system.

What challenges do smallholders face?

Smallholders face challenges like limited access to finance, market information, and technology. These barriers hinder their productivity and ability to benefit from smallholder farming.

What crops do smallholders grow?

Smallholder farmers grow a diverse range of crops, including staples like rice, maize, and wheat, and cash crops like coffee, cocoa, and vegetables, adapting to local demands and conditions.

Featured publications

6 min read
Our agrifood experts discuss how stronger market linkages can empower smallholders, benefit supply chains, and stimulate economic growth. . . .
5 min read
Blended finance and insights from agricultural market research are set to drive agribusiness growth in developing nations. Read more. . . .

Contact us

Our approach is built on a deep understanding of the challenges that smallholders and SME’s face. We act as trusted partners to governments, NGOs, and agribusinesses who seek to build smallholder capacity and drive sustainable agricultural growth. To benefit from our tailored insights and enhance smallholders’ prospects, talk to our agribusiness experts today.

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