04:16pm Monday 14 October 2019

Poorest farmers are key to tackling hunger


A paper co-authored by NRI’s Lora Forsythe, launched at the Houses of Parliament today, calls for more and better investment in the sector. A social scientist, Lora is a Research Fellow with expertise in rural livelihoods, poverty and gender, with a great deal of experience working in Africa, India and Central America.

 Farming for Impact: a case study of smallholder agriculture in Rwanda” by Robin Willoughby of Concern Worldwide and Lora Forsythe explores how promising practices to support smallholder farmers in Rwanda have led to increases in crop production and general food availability and helped insulate the country from the food price rises in East Africa.

“This is an excellent example of NRI’s work in understanding the complexities and dynamics of smallholder agriculture and its contribution to food security and poverty reduction,” says Professor Andrew Westby, Director of the Natural Resources Institute. “It also illustrates the institute’s strength in evaluating policy-linked programmes.”

The report, published by Concern Worldwide, shows that the Rwandan government has invested significantly in smallholder agriculture over the past ten years, which has increased output for key crops. However, challenges remain in improving the lives of the very poorest farmers on the smallest parcels of land, and it is these farmers who need increased investment and direct support.

Using the example of work being carried out by Concern Rwanda, the case study shows how targeted, integrated packages of support, including training on improved farming techniques, the provision of seeds and fertiliser, as well as access to finance and farming co-operatives, help the poorest farmers produce more food and feed themselves and their families.

Story by Public Relations

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