Dear HLPE Secretariat
Please find below comments from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to the HLPE Consultation Document on Investing in Smallholder Agriculture for Food and Nutrition Security.
Ref: National Smallholder Vision and Strategic Framework is to be elaborated that is country specific, comprehensive, and broadly owned
The report indicates that “the National Vision and Strategic Framework has to consider the different ways agriculture is structured and the different types of holdings”- it emphasizes a vision and an implementation framework only smallholder agriculture. By doing so, there is a significant risk of dissociating smallholder agriculture from the rest of the agricultural sector. In other words, having different visions and strategic frameworks (e.g. one for smallholders and another one for commercial farming) would limit the opportunities for smallholders to be considered part of many agricultural value chains. As the linkages between the different types of agricultural systems or types of holdings in a given territory are crucial for the agricultural transformation, we would suggest to consider integrated agricultural strategies, where each type of holding (e.g. small/commercial/etc.) plays a particular role, their specific challenges / constrains are addressed, but also where the dynamics among them are considered and promoted / strengthened.
Ref: Recommendation 35 (pg 14): New Markets
The report rightly places smallholder farmers at the centre of future global discussion on food security and economic development. However more can be said about the process in which smallholder farmers will play a lead role in the future. Over and beyond the opportunities and constraints at the national level, which are well articulated in the report, are the pathways with which small farmers will gain access to ‘bigger and better markets’, both at the regional and global levels: For example;
Ref: Thematic – Youth and Gender dimensions of smallholder investments (See further elaboration in the annex)
Ref: Thematic - Climate Change and Natural Resources Management
The paper provides a very good overview of constraints to smallholder investment in agriculture in different contexts and puts forward solid recommendations. While we appreciate that the focus is on market linkages, as requested by CFS, we found that the analysis of constraints overlooks important issues related to climate change and natural resources management. These aspects could be strengthened both in the sections dedicated to resilience and risk identification - in particular by separating natural /climate change risks from technical risks in section 4.3 - (i.e. climate change as a risk multiplier, adding pressure to the already stressed ecosystems for smallholder farming, and making the development of smallholder agriculture more expensive; agriculture is also a source of GHG emissions; etc.) and in the analysis of smallholders’ role in food security and as a social, cultural and economic sector (highlighting the role smallholders play on sustainable natural resources management, ecosystem services; importance of local knowledge in adaptation to climate change; etc.).
Some specific suggestions include:
 Proctor Felicity, 2005, The New Agenda for Agriculture
Related links and resources:
Constraints to Smallholder Investments - A consultation by the HLPE to set the track of its study
Committe on World Food Security (CFS)
High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE)
The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) Key Elements