The importance of smallholder farms and sustainability

Agriculture and Climate Change edit


Sustainability. It’s a word that is talked about a lot in development. That’s because many organisations like IRT recognise that projects we implement need to stay in communities for the long term to truly improve people’s lives. Sustainable agricultural practices are important to the farmers IRT supports, but generally for the planet as well.

It is predicted that food production will need to increase by 60% by 2050 to feed the global population. This is especially important as it is predicted the population will grow by 2 billion before 2050. However, due to the effects of climate change, yields are predicted to decrease by 25% in the same amount of time.

This is not good news if we want to sustainably feed the world. Agriculture is most vulnerable to climate change.

People in poor, rural regions are among those hardest hit by climate change, but usually lack the resources to adapt. Agriculture is still the backbone of the economy in these areas, which also contains three quarters of the world’s poorest and hungriest people. If these people can no longer produce enough food to earn an income or to feed their families, they will migrate to already crowded cities or beyond, with impacts that are economic, social and political.

Smallholder farmers need to know how to adapt to a changing environment. This means they need to learn about inputs, finance, access to markets, information, technology and an enabling environment that helps them thrive.

With IRT’s support, Organisation for Community Action (OCA) provides training that invests in the sustainability of smallholder farms. StepUp teaches families how to grow and tend a garden that provides them with a consistent source of food. The StepUp training also teaches farmers how to tend crops more efficiently, as well as the benefits of generating income from excess crops. While subsistence farmers are incredibly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, training like StepUp teaches them how to adapt to different changes that may hinder their production of food.


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