Leaping and learning: linking smallholders to markets

Agriculture for Impact research report
by Steve Wiggins and Sharada Keats
May 2013

This report provides a comprehensive review of the existing literature on smallholder-centred market-based interventions.

Smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa number around 33 million, represent 80% of all farms in the region, and contribute up to 90% of food production in some sub-Saharan African countries. Developing smallholder agriculture can be effective in reducing poverty and hunger in low income countries, but only through sustainable access to markets can poor farmers increase the income from their labour and lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

Most poor farmers are not linked to markets for a variety of reasons: remoteness, low production, low farm-gate prices, and lack of information, to name a few. Addressing and overcoming these market failures in order to increase smallholder farmers’ access to markets was the subject of this research project.

In short, the project aimed to answer the question:

how can smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa use a combination of agricultural growth and links to markets to raise their incomes and reduce poverty and hunger?

What follows is a summary of the considerations, conclusions and recommendations that resulted from the synthesis and exploration of existing material, case studies and workshops.

File: LeapingandLearning_FINAL.pdf