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Rio+20 Reveals Crucial Role of Smallholders in Poverty Reduction
Posted on: 28/06/2012
The 20th annual UN Conference on Sustainable Development was held this year from 20 to 22 June in Rio de Janeiro.
Aptly named ‘Rio+20’, this series of conferences held over two days was an opportunity for world leaders, thousands of worldwide governmental participants, the private sector and NGOs to discuss actions to reduce poverty globally, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection over the next twenty years. In all, over 10,000 people participated, including 800 non-governmental organisations.
During the summit, the president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Kanayo Nwanze, championed the cause of smallholder farmers, as the agenda turned its attention towards their importance to food security and poverty reduction in developing countries.
Support for the ‘biggest investors in agriculture’
A Nigerian national, Nwanze has over 30 years’ experience in alleviating poverty through agriculture, rural development and research addressed how smallholders – simply by their number – are by far the biggest investors in agriculture in the developing world.
The world’s 500 million smallholders are currently producing up to 80% of food in developing countries, with farmers investing their own money, time and labour regardless of the risks associated with their enterprises.
This is why Nwanze wished to stress how crucial it is for governing bodies and organisations to work with, invest in and support underprivileged farmers. Through investments and continued support, farmers can ensure their businesses prosper, and that food and nutritional security in the developing world is a given.
Hope for the future
Despite widespread reports that the Rio+20 failed to deliver a clear vision and focused, practical solutions to the issues of poverty and the environment, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has given smallholders around the world cause for hope. Clegg announced that Britain would support over 6 million smallholder farms in developing countries, providing grants to help farmers build their resilience to climate change. The methods used to support these farmers will include flood-proofing storerooms, improving weather reporting and switching to climate-proof crops.
Deki has empowered many smallholders in Togo, Malawi, Ghana and Nepal to start up or expand their agricultural activities. We’re pleased that the vital role they play in on-going sustainable development was recognized at Rio+20, and welcome Britain’s pledge to help farmers like them build sustainable futures. We hope that Kanayo Nwanze’s vision will continue to inspire others to find solutions to empower small farmers, so that the world’s growing population can be fed fairly and sustainably.