Giving Compass’ Take:
• Fast Company reports on how there needs to be more investment in smallholder African farmers in order to lift people out of poverty.
• Data is a key element of this piece, and the numbers are literally written into the ground about how growth in agriculture is 11 times more effective in reducing extreme poverty than other sectors. Is the message getting through?
On a field in Zambia in December 2016, farmers and villagers spent five days tilling the land not for food but to share a message with the rest of the world: we need to invest more in agriculture in Africa.
A series of graphs in the soil, called the Field Report, share key data. Even though Africa has a quarter of the world’s arable land, it only produces 10% of the world’s food. More young people are moving away from rural communities at the same time that the population — and the demand for food — is growing. A giant “11” makes the point that growth in agriculture is 11 times more effective at reducing extreme poverty than other sectors.
“The Field Report makes the case for investment in agricultural development in the very land that needs it the most,” says Gilbert Houngbo, president of IFAD, the UN’s agricultural arm, which is behind the project. “We were inspired by the sheer power and potential land holds to reduce poverty and hunger, contribute to vibrant, self-sustaining communities and dramatically increase agricultural outputs capable of feeding a growing population.”
Four-fifths of the world’s poorest people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods; if production and access to markets can improve, that can help families increase their incomes at the same time as it meets a need for more food.
“Rising prices and demand hold tremendous promise for the people who work the world’s 500 million small farms to grow and sell more food, lifting themselves out of poverty and food insecurity,” he says. “When connected to markets, smallholder farmers can generate an income and create a multiplier effect–sending their children to school and stimulating the economy in order to help lift their community out of poverty for the long term.”
Read the full article about data helping African farmers by Adele Peters at Fast Company.
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