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HLPE consultation on the V0 draft of the Report: Investing in smallholder agriculture for food and nutrition security

In October 2011 the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) requested its High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) to conduct a study on smallholder investments, and in particular, to assess: “a comparative study of constraints to smallholder investment in agriculture in different contexts with policy options for addressing these constraints, taking into consideration the work done on this topic by IFAD, and by FAO in the context of COAG, and the work of other key partners. This should include a comparative assessment of strategies for linking smallholders to food value chains in national and regional markets and what can be learned from different experiences, as well as an assessment of the impacts on smallholders of public-private as well as farmer cooperative-private and private-private partnerships.”
Final findings are to be presented at the CFS Plenary session in October 2013.
The High Level Panel of Experts for Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) now seeks input on the following V0 draft of its report to address this mandate. The current draft has been elaborated by the Project Team, under guidance and oversight of the Steering Committee, based also on the feedback received through the scoping e-consultation.

The present e-consultation will be used by the HLPE Project Team to further elaborate the report, which will then be submitted to external expert review, before finalization by the Project Team under Steering Committee guidance and oversight.

The current draft is work-in-progress towards a comprehensive yet accessible and succinct presentation, highlighting priority topics and areas that are useful for action to the diverse range of stakeholders which form the CFS.

To be useful in the next steps of the report write-up, the HLPE proposes to open a dialogue on the following topics and seeks feedback and input according to the following lines:

1) Definition and significance of Smallholder agriculture: is the approach in the report adequate?
2) Framework for Smallholder agriculture and related investments: is the typology useful, adequate and accessible for the problem at hand?
3) Constraints to smallholder investment: are all main constraints presented in the draft? Have important constraints been omitted?

The current V0 draft contains a short summary and, intentionally, very first tentative recommendations : these are to be seen NOT as the final recommendations of the HLPE, but as a work-in-progress, part of the process of their elaboration: it is therefore to be seen as a scientific and evidence-based invitation for their enrichment, for being screened against evidence, as well as for further suggestions on their operationalization and targeting.

Are the main areas for recommendations and the priority domains for action adequate? Does the draft include sufficient information at the adequate level to support the policy messages?

The current V0 draft, at this stage of the writing, could be further enriched by more concrete examples to support the reasoning. As the HLPE seeks to formulate practical, actionable recommendations for implementation, we would therefore seek, through this consultation, concrete examples and references [cases, facts and figures] to feed into the report, in particular into a section on Implementation and to sustain the vision that is presented.  
The issues that this report needs to cover may comprise some controversial points. Do you think these are well highlighted in the report in order to feed the debate? Are those presented with sufficient facts and figures to elicit their rationale? Did the current draft miss any of those?
We thank in advance all the contributors for being kind enough to spend time in reading and commenting on this early version of our report. Supplementary information, references and evidence-based examples would be very much welcomed in such a format that could be quickly manageable by the team (for instance, if you suggest a reference, a book etc, please highlight a/the key point(s) in 5 to 10 lines).

Contributions are welcomed in English, French and Spanish. The V0 draft is available in English. We look forward to a rich and fruitful consultation.
The HLPE Project Team and Steering Committee

This discussion is now closed. Please contact for any further information.

Prof. Denis Requier-Desjardins Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Toulouse/LEREPS, France

Je félicite les auteurs du rapport pour la qualité du travail effectué qui fait un bilan extrêmement complet du rôle de l’agriculture familiale dans la sécurité alimentaire et des contraintes qui pèsent sur elles. Je souhaiterais cependant souligner qu’il me paraît important de prendre en compte la question de la diversification des revenus et des activités au sein des ménages ruraux (plus de la moitié des revenus ruraux au Sud ne seraient plus des revenus d’exploitation). Même si on peut considérer que dans la majorité des cas cette diversification est un moyen de diluer les risques inhérents à la production agricole de l’agriculture familiale et qu’un renforcement des investissements en sécurisant les conditions de production pourrait rendre cette stratégie moins nécessaire, il reste que dans certains cas on est en présence d’une marginalisation de l’activité agricole dans les systèmes de moyens d’existence, qui peut d’ailleurs aller jusqu’au retrait total. Dans certains contextes cela peut diminuer les incitations à investir des agriculteurs familiaux, même si celles-ci sont portées par des politiques spécifiques, compte tenu justement du caractère résiduel de l’activité agricole dans leur portefeuille d’activités et leurs stratégies familiales.

Mr. Phani Mohan K Anagha Datta Trade, India
Phani Mohan

To maximise productivity small farmer has to be trained in BMP( Better management prcatices) and also with timely inputs. There is no doubt that developing nations and LDP countries have these in majority and are more sustainable reducing environmental impacts of large scale cultivation.  am sharing my inputs on sugarcane studied for India which could be useful as its generic:

Sugarcane Production and manufacturing is a multi stakeholder process involving Farmer at the initial end, Scientists, Agronomists, Labor, farm equipment manufacturers, Logistic men, Agro Chemical manufacturers, Sugar Technologists and Mill managements at the bottom. The Role of everyone in the link plays critical role in enhancing Industry’s bottom line.

The Article tries to understand gaps and suggest possibilities to this Crop which sweetens world populace but inherently driven by National policies.

Indian Sugarcane can reinvent itself following Sustainable practices by involving all stakeholders to collectively enhance its reputation.

Deficit can only be addressed by collective representation and redressal practices, which can be learned from multiple models in Brazil, Australia, Thailand, Caribbean and Cuban examples.

See the attachment:sugarcaneindustry-india.doc
Ms. Ilaria Firmian IFAD, Italy


The paper provides a very good overview of constraints to smallholder investment in agriculture in different contexts and put forward solid recommendations. While I appreciate that the focus is on market linkages, as requested by CFS, I 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:

p.26: animal production should not only be considered in terms of “efficiency” but also in terms of sustainability and impacts on the environment (i.e. extensive grazing systems/pastoralism may represent a successful  mechanisms of adaptation to maintain an ecological balance among pastures, livestock and people).

2.3.2: the growing integration of local and international value chains may represent a driver for scaling up environmentally sound practices and promoting inclusive green growth (an example is the IFAD Participatory Smallholder Agriculture and Artisanal Fisheries Development Programme in Sao Tome and Principe, where public-private partnerships have been set up with overseas buyers of organic, fair trade cocoa of high quality).

2.4: the energy efficiency section should integrate climate change consideration as well as refer to technological innovations suitable for smallholders, such as biogas,  that provide social, environmental and economic benefits.

3.3.6: Rewards for Environmental Services is an approach that may be associated to provision of public goods.

p.55: related to first dimension, among interventions that might help to enlarge and improve the available resource base, include multiple-benefit approaches that have impact on natural resource base, yields, GHG emissions, biodiversity.  In addition, there are approaches to natural resources management such as Rewards for Environmental Services or organic/fair trade production, that have an impact also on the market dimension.

p.57: The importance of a  coordinated strategy across sectors, time, and space should be further strengthened.

p.58-59: diversification of the production system should also be highlighted as a strategy for adapting to climate change and increasing resilience.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this extremely interesting report.

Ilaria Firmian


FSN Forum Team FAO, Italy
FSN Forum

Posted on behalf of Sara J. Scherr, EcoAgriculture Partner, USA

Dear CFS-HLPE of the Smallholder Agriculture Paper,

Congratulations on putting together a very strong overview of the current conditions, constraints and opportunities for smallholder agriculture in food and nutrition security. I support the sections on defining smallholder agriculture and their significance, and the elements on investment, constraints and recommendations that have been put forward.

However, I believe there is a very substantial gap in the analysis related to the role of natural resource conditions and flows of ecosystem services in smallholder constraints, opportunities and recommendations for action. This element is almost entirely missing from the report, yet are consistent with and would support the main recommendations. I encourage the HLPE to look at the recent reports by UNEP (Avoiding Future Famines: Strengthening the Ecological Basis of Food Security through Sustainable Food Systems) and UNDESA ( that elaborate these issues from diverse perspectives and with a strong focus on smallholder farmers.

Here are my specific suggestions:

p.9: Add Land Degradation as a major challenge for smallholders, both at farm level (soil erosion, fertility decline and water-holding capacity) and landscape level (devegetation of watersheds with resulting reduction in water flow and storage, threats to irrigation, loss of pollinators, pest problems, et al). The lack of mechanisms for collective action by smallholders and their communities to manage such issues and for financing of investments that provide returns only in medium and longer terms.

p. 22:  Smallholders need to have a much stronger voice in territorial (and other spatially defined models for integrated landscape management)initiatives, and to strengthen their voices in defining development strategies at district, landscape, watershed and sub-regional levels (including agricultural development, water resources development, forest development, et al).

p. 27:  I suggesting adding a short sub-section 2.1.3 on the important role of smallholder farmers, in many parts of the world, in producing ecosystem services for other groups in society through their stewardship of farm and non-farmed lands, controlling erosion, protecting watersheds, sustaining wild plant and animal species, maintaining culturally important resources and germplasm, and sequestering carbon in ways that mitigate climate change.

p. 29:  Figure 1, add ecosystem services and natural resource management as key components.

3.2:  “Natural capital” is defined here much too narrowly, and should include types of natural capital at farm, community, and landscape scales upon which smallholder farmers depend (agricultural soils, natural pastures, woodlands and community forests, riparian vegetation, sources of raw materials used in agricultural production  or agro-processing, woodfuel, medicines, fodder for livestock, and particularly the management of micro- and sub-watersheds and the diverse vegetative cover, rainwater harvesting structures at farm and landscape scale, biodiversity for pest and disease control, etc..

3.3 Add a new sub-section on collective action by smallholder farmers to improve ecosystem health and ecosystem services upon which they depend.

4.1.2  Smallholders have a particularly weak voice in decision-making about landscape strategies for agricultural development, water resource development, forest development, which are too often decided at district, provincial or national levels without consultation or engagement of smallholders.

4.2  This section should also highlight the lack of access by smallholders to natural resources that are located off their farms but are critical as inputs for agricultural production or agro-processing, such as forest resources needed for woodfuel, raw materials, ‘natural’ pesticides and fertilizers, water for irrigation, etc.

4.3  I suggest creating a separate category for ‘natural resource and environmental risks’, separate from ‘technical risks’, to highlight the high threats from soil loss, fertility decline, damage from flooding, pollution of water supplies for people and animals, and the host of climate change-related risks such as rise of new pests and diseases, increased drought risk, increased severity of storms,et al.

4.  I encourage you to include at least one example of the many documented case studies showing how smallholder investment in natural resource management, at farm and local landscape scales, improves ecosystem health in ways that directly increase agricultural productivity, stability and resilience. I would be happy to suggest some examples and refer you to the experts.

Figure 15: Another challenge for smallholders’ well-being is their access to natural resources and ecosystem services critical for their livelihoods, as described above. For example, access to cropland along is not sufficient in most smallholder farming systems—their access to forest, water and grazing resources is also critical, and in many places, to cropland parcels located in different agroecological zones to enable different types of crops to be grown under varying weather conditions.

5.4.2 The definition of territorial developmentshould be broadened and enhanced to incorporate diverse area-based approaches that can aggregate smallholder activities to improve stewardship of critical natural resources and ecosystem services (e.g., Landcare) or that will enable smallholder farmers to negotiate directly with other stakeholders in planning that affects their access and quality of land, water and other resources, and strategies of investment that will affect their ability to use them productively.

Thanks very much for the opportunity to comment on this very important report.


Sara J. Scherr, President

EcoAgriculture Partners (

Facilitator, Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative (

Cornelia van Wesenbeeck Centre for World Food Studies, Netherlands
Cornelia van Wesenbeeck

The present version of the report Investing in smallholder agriculture for food and nutrition security has five chapters: (1) introduction, (2) significance of smallholder agriculture, (3) a framework for smallholder agriculture and investments, (4) constraints to smallholder investments and (5) recommendations. Insertion of the concluding section is pending.

While Chapters 1 and 2 describe the present situation, Chapter 3 starts with the important observation that investments in smallholder agriculture are currently made from households’ own savings, as opposed to being financed from external sources. In view of the limited availability of financial savings, they are predominantly effectuated in kind as labor investments during the off season say, in construction and land management. However, since labor investments have only limited impact on labor productivity, smallholder farmers are unlikely to escape poverty in this way. Next, the chapter discusses policies to improve smallholder wellbeing. These include public investments in education, health and infrastructure in rural areas, but also investments made by processing industries. Chapter 4 focuses on constraints, and identifies first and foremost the lack of institutional power of the group. In addition, poverty and lack of access to input and output markets are mentioned. A typology of smallholders is presented, in the three dimensions “assets”, “markets”, and “institutions”. Chapter 5 lists recommendations that directly follow from the identification of constraints. These are more of the nature of a wish list that each of the constraints should be alleviated than of actual recommendations. Fortunately, the discussion on specific priority domains that follow seems more thorough, as it touches upon some of the issues related to financing the agricultural sector from external sources and to enhancing institutions that provide access to markets.

Overall, the report gives a broad survey of the present situation in smallholder agriculture, with a typology of smallholders following from the three dimensions of characteristics (assets, markets and institutions) introduced in Chapter 4. Various constraints and recommendations are presented, with a brief discussion of the rationale and some examples.  

We would like to mention the following limitations.

First, the report focuses on smallholder agriculture per se, and is not - as its title and introduction would suggest - a study that considers smallholder agriculture in the context of food and nutrition security. In the introduction, both food insecurity of smallholders themselves and their potential contribution to future food security for the world at large are covered, but the remainder of the study hardly addresses the issue of smallholders’ contribution to world food production.

Second, the report implicitly assumes that smallholder farms are there to stay irrespective of whether they are successful in achieving substantial productivity increases. Given their large numbers, it is indeed certain that many of them will continue to exist, and do so in dire circumstances. These will need safety nets and supporting measures  for humanitarian reasons  and to prepare them and their children for a better future outside agriculture, thereby also creating room for neighbors to expand their holdings. Alternatively, those who remain can engage in higher value chains such as animal husbandry and horticulture, so as to become large farmers on small holdings. Both are forms of business expansion without which the smallholders’ families will never be able to escape from poverty.

Of course, infrastructural works and irrigation may help raising yields, and so can improved provision of seeds, fertilizers and plant protection products, but unless these measures are embedded in a process of deeper integration of the rural sector in the national economy, and the purchasing power of cities itself is rising, measures that primarily target production run the danger of leading to price falls that worsen smallholders’ condition rather than improving it.

It is at this juncture that the report’s emphasis on power relations in the chain could be put in a clearer perspective. Whereas the report extensively points to the weak position of smallholders preventing them from reaping benefits of investments, and transaction costs preventing banks and investors from overseeing needs and opportunities of every individual farmer, it insufficiently points to a way out of this situation say, by enlargement of farms or by organizing better cooperation among smallholders to form units that jointly decide on input use, share transport and storage facilities and mechanical equipment, and jointly negotiate with processors and financing institutions.

In short, Investing in smallholder agriculture for food and nutrition security amounts to triggering rural transformation, and raises a host of questions including design of appropriate financing options (bank loans, FDI, domestic private investment); formulation guidelines for creation of the mode of organization that may achieve the required productivity gains, accounting for the impact this may have on the social fabric in rural areas; effects of new production techniques such as GMOs on biodiversity and animal welfare.

It may well be that many of these questions fall beyond the Terms of Reference of this report, but the report definitely needs a better embedding within the overall process of economic growth and development, and link better to the question how smallholder agriculture may contribute to food and nutrition security. This would more effectively set the stage for a motivated selection of topics.

We already wrote in our reaction to the Terms of Reference  that in our view the CFS, because of its limited political mandate,  should, to be effective, focus on the aspects  that raise most controversy in public debate, with the aim to make this debate more balanced and better informed. While the report touches upon some of these controversies, it fails to highlight the tensions and dilemmas. For example, with respect to finance, section 3.3.1. mentions the problem of “developed agriculture overinvestment” (p. 38), presumably referring to the current situation in many European countries where farmers have become highly indebted, while box 11 mentions the advantages of the Rabobank’s financing of the agricultural sector. The recommendations on the finance and banking system (p. 65-67) include new elements that have not been discussed before, such as informal arrangements and also emphasize the possibility for partners in the chain to invest in agriculture, while this option had been criticized in Chapter 3, emphasizing the danger of unfair treatment of the farmers because of the lack of clout.


The report stresses the hardship that characterizes the lives of nearly half a billion of smallholder farmers, caught in a vicious cycle of poverty, lack of means to invest, low yields and low revenues, leaving them with hardly any opportunity to provide for a better future for themselves or their children. By accepting and implicitly even endorsing the fact that they will remain smallholders for the foreseeable future, the report arrives at recommendations that do not fundamentally change the prospects of these farmers.

Particularly in the light of the UN RIO+20 report’s reaffirmation of the importance of the CFS in designing national policies for sustainable food production and food security, this report, and with it the HLPE and CFS should show more ambition in alleviating the plight of the poor and enact changes that will strengthen the social and economic status of smallholders.

FSN Forum Team FAO, Italy
FSN Forum

Posted on behalf of Jean-Paul Pradère, World Organisation for Animal Health, France

Les auteurs du rapport méritent d’être félicités pour la qualité et la clarté de leur travail sur un sujet aussi complexe. L’importance des rôles économiques et sociaux que les petites exploitations jouent, pratiquement partout dans le monde, est très bien montrée et très bien analysée.

En complément des recommandations déjà proposées dans le rapport, il me semble nécessaire d’ajouter le renforcement de la productivité de l’élevage et, en conséquence, le besoin de renforcer le contrôle de la santé animale. En effet, l’élevage représente une part croissante du PIB agricole dans le monde (actuellement plus de 40%) et le rapport montre bien les rôles multiples et importants qu’il joue dans les petites exploitations. Des études (Ludena 2010) ont montré que c’est dans les petits élevages (volaille, porcs) que les transferts de technologie étaient les plus faciles à réaliser et que des gains de productivité pouvaient être les plus rapides. Bien entendu, pour réaliser ces gains de productivité et améliorer la qualité de leurs produits, les petits producteurs doivent pouvoir compter sur des services vétérinaires performants. En outre, un meilleur contrôle de la santé animale réduit l’aversion au risque des producteurs et des banquiers et donc facilite l’accès des petits producteurs aux innovations. L’amélioration de la santé animale et de la qualité des produits animaux est également une des conditions à l’intégration des petits éleveurs dans les filières de production et dans les circuits modernes de distribution (intégration largement recommandée dans le rapport).

Les remarques sont présentées en réponse aux grandes questions qui sont posées par les auteurs du rapport :

1) Definition and significance of Smallholder agriculture: is the approach in the report adequate?

Cette question est déjà bien traitée dans le rapport. En outre elle a déjà bénéficié de nombreuses contributions.

2) Constraints to smallholder investment: are all main constraints presented in the draft? Have important constraints been omitted?

Le rapport montre bien les liens étroits qui existent entre les composantes économiques et domestiques dans les ménages de petits producteurs agricoles. On comprend que pour ces ménages fragiles, la réalisation d’un risque (par exemple la baisse de production ou la mort d’un animal) a immédiatement des effets très graves.

  • Aversion au risque

Le paragraphe 4 du rapport, pourrait développer la notion d’aversion au risque et son impact d’une part sur les choix d’investissement du producteur lui-même (lorsqu’il investit avec ses ressources propres) et, d’autre part, sur les décisions d’investissement (relations producteurs/ banques)

Les études sur le sujet montrent, qu’en raison de leur aversion au risque, les producteurs (surtout les plus modestes) préfèrent des options qui offrent moins de profit mais avec un risque faible, au détriment des options qui pourraient générer un grand profit, mais avec un risque élevé.

Jesús Antón et Wyatt Thompson (Risk Aversion and Competitiveness, 2008) montrent que, toutes choses égales par ailleurs, l’aversion au risque conduit les investisseurs à choisir des options qui réduisent le niveau de leurs revenus. Au fil du temps ils se marginalisent eux-mêmes et s’écartent des circuits économiques les plus rentables.

On comprend dans ces conditions, que l’aversion pour les risques liées aux maladies animales constitue une contrainte forte, qui empêche les petits producteurs de bénéficier des profits élevés (mais risqués) de l’élevage et notamment de l’élevage d’espèces à cycle court (volailles, porcs) pour lesquels les transferts de technologie sont relativement faciles et les ratios de profit généralement très élevés. On comprend également l’intérêt d’un meilleur contrôle de la santé animale pour réduire la force de l’aversion aux risques dans les choix d’investissement en élevage.

3) Are the main areas for recommendations and the priority domains for action adequate?

  • Importance croissante de l’élevage au niveau mondial et dans l’économie des petites exploitations.

Le rapport en objet montre bien le rôle de l’élevage dans la constitution, la gestion et la préservation du patrimoine des ménages ruraux. Toutefois, l’importance des rôles de l’élevage dans les petites exploitations pourrait être soulignée.

En effet, l’élevage est partout en croissance. Le volume des productions animales augmente vite. Il représente déjà plus de 40% du PIB agricole mondial et cette proportion augmente vite.

L’élevage est une source de revenus pour 70% des ruraux pauvres dans le monde. Outre des revenus directs et une réserve en capital, l’élevage offre une force de travail et de transport pour la moitié des exploitations agricoles du monde, une source de fertilisation organique pour la plus grande partie des cultures et un moyen de convertir des sous-produits grossiers en produits animaux à forte valeur ajoutée. Sans être un passage obligé, l’élevage constitue une opportunité pour réduire la pauvreté (Banque mondiale, « Minding the Stock: Bringing Public Policy to Bear on Livestock Sector Development, 2009 »).

  • Forte élasticité de la demande de produits animaux.

La demande de produits animaux est en forte croissance, partout dans le monde. En Afrique, où le déficit en produits animaux va continuer à augmenter (OECD/FAO Outloock -2012), l’élasticité de cette demande a été estimée à 0,8 (Seale, Regmi, & Bernstein 2003, Muhammed et al 2011). Les élevages à cycle court, qui valorisent vite et biens les investissements lorsqu’ils sont sécurisés, permettraient à de petits éleveurs de profiter de la croissance de la demande.

  • Productivité de l’élevage (et des autres productions agricoles)

De investissements en faveur de la productivité globale de la production agricole figurent – à juste titre - parmi les recommandations prioritaires du rapport. Le rapport contient également différents environnements économiques de la production agricole. Il est en effet important de distinguer clairement plusieurs catégories de pays. On pourrait distinguer notamment :

  • les pays (généralement développés) où les producteurs ont plus d’opportunités de diversification des revenus, où ils bénéficient de bonnes infrastructures, de services éducatifs et sociaux de bons niveaux et surtout de soutiens importants aux productions agricoles ;
  • et à l’autre extrême, les pays les plus pauvres où les nombreux petits producteurs sont le plus souvent mal représentés au niveau politique, où les infrastructures et les appuis techniques sont insuffisants et où le contexte institutionnel ne favorise pas les petits investissements.

Les analyses de l’OCDE (Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation -2012) montrent par exemple, qu’au Japon, en Norvège et en Suisse, les soutiens des pays aux producteurs agricoles (les PSE) dépassent 50% de la valeur des productions (ces soutiens ont été récemment réduits mais, en 2011, ils représentaient encore 19% de la valeur moyenne des productions agricoles).

Bien entendu il existe un lien entre le volume et la nature des soutiens à l’agriculture et le niveau de la productivité agricole. Dans un excellent rapport Ludena et al. (2007) montre bien l’intérêt des actions de recherche et de recherche-développement et de l’accès aux intrants pour le renforcement de la productivité = = le rapport en objet souligne bien ces exigences = =. Les gains moyens annuels de productivité calculés par Ludena pour la période 1961-2007 reflètent bien le niveau de soutien à l’agriculture (Pays développés 2,2% ; Amérique latine et Caraïbes 1 ,8%, Asie du Sud-Est 1,6% ; Afrique sub-saharienne 0,2%).

Dans les pays qui bénéficient de services vétérinaires performants et où la santé animale est bien contrôlée, les gains de productivité les plus élevés sont observés dans les élevages de volailles et de porcs, où les transferts de technologie sont plus faciles.

Il serait important de citer le besoin d’un meilleur contrôle de la santé animale (et donc d’une meilleure sécurisation) pour le renforcement de la productivité de l’élevage. Benett (2003) montre bien l’intérêt économique des investissements pour l’amélioration de la santé animale. A niveau d’input égal, la rentabilité des élevages sains est plus forte.

Un élevage sain est aussi une condition essentielle à l’accès aux circuits de commercialisation intégrés et au développement de partenariats entre petits producteurs et industriels qui sont recommandés dans le rapport.

  • Recommandations - Processus PVS de l’OIE

Outre les actions transversales, déjà citées dans le rapport (formation agricole, recherche-développement, etc.) et la promotion générale de formes d’élevages adaptées aux petits producteurs, une amélioration de la santé animale est indispensable à la sécurisation et à la bonne valorisation des productions des petits éleveurs.

L’amélioration de la santé animale est elle-même directement liée à la qualité des Services vétérinaires nationaux (qui outre leur mission de santé publique vétérinaire accompagnent l’accès des animaux et produits d'origine animale aux marchés régionaux et internationaux), à la qualité de formation initiale des vétérinaires et à la qualité des partenariats publics privés organisés dans le domaine vétérinaire (y compris pour la mise en oeuvre de stratégies de vaccination avec des vaccins de qualité).

Parmi les recommandations concrètes, il serait important de citer l’« Outil pour l’évaluation des performances des Services Vétérinaires » (Outil PVS de l’OIE). Cet outil qui est mis en oeuvre à la demande des pays, vise à évaluer la conformité des Services Vétérinaires nationaux avec les normes de qualité de l’OIE. En résumé, une première évaluation PVS peut être suivie d’une analyse des écarts par rapport aux normes internationales qui aide à l’identification des priorités et à la préparation et au calcul des programmes d’investissement, avec l’appui des gouvernements, des partenaires de l’OIE et, si nécessaire, des bailleurs de fonds. Ces outils sont les leviers principaux de l’OIE pour pouvoir concrètement aider les Services Vétérinaires de tous les pays du monde à mettre en place une bonne gouvernance de leur structure et de leur mode de fonctionnement.

  • Des « Banque de vaccins » contribuent à la sécurisation des revenus des producteurs.

Avec l’appui financier de divers partenaires l'OIE poursuit le développement d’un nouveau concept de « banque de vaccins » dotée de stocks de roulement virtuels. En cas d’apparition d’une maladie contagieuse, ce concept permet une fourniture rapide de vaccins aux pays infectés. Entre autres résultats, plus de 62 millions de doses de vaccins H5N2 ont été livrées aux pays suivants : Mauritanie, Sénégal, Égypte, Maurice, Ghana, Togo et Vietnam.

La création de nouvelles banques de vaccins pour tout un ensemble de maladies permettra de mieux contrer la propagation des maladies animales transfrontalières dans le monde. Ce qui contribuera à la sécurisation des revenus et du patrimoine des éleveurs.

Des informations détaillées sur l’outil PVS de l’OIE et les résultats de son application dans de nombreux pays sont disponibles sur le site Internet de l’OIE (Menu « Appui aux Membres de l’OIE » / « Support to OIE members »)

4) Does the draft include sufficient information at the adequate level to support the policy messages?

Le rapport montre clairement l’importance économique et sociale des petites exploitations agricoles mais aussi le rôle clé de ces exploitations dans la production alimentaire mondiale. Le plaidoyer en faveur des petites exploitations agricoles pourrait insister davantage sur deux arguments :

  • L’insuffisance des soutiens aux politiques agricoles (politiques de l’élevage en particulier) dans les pays les moins avancés.

Dans les pays les moins avancés il y a un net déséquilibre entre l’importance économique et sociale de l’agriculture et le volume de l’aide qui est affecté à ce secteur. Dans un rapport de 2009 (déjà cité), la banque mondiale estimait le pourcentage de l’aide affectée à l’agriculture à environ 2,5 % du total de l’aide au développement. Une consultation des bases de données du Comité d’Aide au Développement de l’OCDE montre que le pourcentage de cette aide a légèrement augmenté ces dernières années mais reste à un niveau très bas (4 à 5% du total de l’aide).

En outre, l’élevage reste, de loin, le traditionnel parent pauvre de l’aide et des politiques publiques dans les pays les moins avancés. Parmi les raisons évoquées pour expliquer le désintérêt des décideurs et des agences d’aide figurent, entre autres, la complexité des systèmes d’élevage et le niveau élevé des risques (dus aux maladies). Pourtant, les petits élevages se prêtent bien à des actions de promotion au bénéfice des petites exploitations familiales, les transferts de technologie sont faciles à organiser. Beaucoup d’exemples en Asie et Amérique latine montrent qu’une amélioration de la couverture vétérinaire contribue à des gains de productivité très rapides.

Dans un contexte de croissance de la demande et de manque de soutien des politiques publiques dans les pays les moins avancés, la croissance de l’élevage ne profite pas suffisamment aux petits éleveurs, car cette croissance est « tirée par la demande » et ne bénéficie pas suffisamment de politiques publiques qui, outre des objectifs économiques, pourraient avoir aussi des objectifs sociaux et environnementaux

  • La participation des petites exploitations au bien-être et à la croissance économique.

Dans le rapport cité en référence, Ludena rappelle que l’intensification de l’agriculture a été la base de l'industrialisation réussie dans les économies aujourd'hui développées. Des auteurs : Adelman et Morris (1988), Krueger, Schiff et Valdes (1991), Stern (1989), ont montré que l’amélioration de la productivité agricole joue un rôle clé dans le processus d'industrialisation et de développement.

Parallèlement, les pays qui n’ont pas suffisamment (ou ont mal) soutenu leur agriculture ont eu de faibles taux de croissance. Les petites exploitations sont des éléments importants des économies nationales. Les investissements en leur faveur génèrent des gains en termes de croissance économique et de bien-être des populations.

Références :

1. Jesús Antón (OECD), Wyatt Thompson (University of Missouri), Risk Aversion and Competitiveness. 2008.

2. Carlos E. Ludena. Agricultural Productivity Growth, Efficiency Change and Technical Progress in Latin America and the Caribbean. 2010. Inter-American Development Bank

3. Banque mondiale. Minding the Stock: Bringing Public Policy to Bear on Livestock Sector Development. 2009

4. OECD (2012). Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2012 ; OECD countries, OECD Publishing.

5. Benett, R (2003). The direct cost of livestock diseases. The development of a system of models for the analysis of 30 endemic livestock diseases in Great Britain. Journal of Agricultural Economics 54 (1), 55-71

International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) , France
FSN Forum

Bonjour à tous,

Merci au HLPE pour cet excellent document.

De son côté, l’Institut International du Froid (IIF) qui est une organisation intergouvernementale, travaille en partenariat avec la FAO pour le développement de la chaîne du froid intégré dans les stratégies de développement agricole et alimentaire. Entre autres actions, la FAO et l’IIF ont organisé conjointement un atelier régional  en juin 2012 à Yaoundé, Cameroun, qui a réuni des professionnels venant des organisations internationales et des secteurs privés et publics nationaux dans les domaines de l’agriculture, de l’industrie et des services.
Cet atelier a permis de souligner l’intérêt d’approches coordonnées multi-acteurs et multisectorielles, le rôle de l’investissement public et privé, l’importance de la gouvernance, de la formation, des conditions de commercialisation, la nécessaire prise en compte de la diversité des territoires, etc.  pour ne citer que quelques uns de nos points de convergence avec le rapport du HLPE.

Le développement de la chaîne du froid nous paraît particulièrement important pour les petits agriculteurs.
En effet, les productions  à forte valeur ajoutée peuvent permettre d’obtenir un revenu satisfaisant sur de petites surfaces. Mais les productions à forte valeur ajoutée sont souvent des produits fragiles (fruits et légumes, lait, viande, poisson….) pour lesquelles, sans chaîne du froid, les pertes sont élevées voire dissuasives, et les conditions de mise en marché médiocres, ce qui est démotivant pour ceux qui voudraient améliorer leur production en qualité et en quantité.
Dans ce cadre, disposer d’énergie électrique régulière à un prix raisonnable est tout autant un outil  de production  qu’un facteur de bien-être ; on peut pallier le manque de réseau électrique ou l’irrégularité de la fourniture d’électricité (groupe électrogène, froid solaire…) mais le coût de ces solutions alternatives est élevé et réduit leur utilisation.

Les approches intégrées sont fortement recommandées par les auteurs, elles doivent l’être tout particulièrement si l’on souhaite intégrer la chaîne du froid, sous peine de tomber dans des cercles vicieux, par exemple : production insuffisante en quantité et en qualité pour rentabiliser une chaîne du froid fiable, sans laquelle la production ne peut se développer, ou encore : l’absence de main-d’œuvre qualifiée pour la maintenance  freine l’équipement frigorifique, d’où une absence de débouchés qui dissuade la mise en place de cycles de formation dans ce domaine.
Sans perdre de vue les autres exploitants, une bonne « trajectoire » de développement peut, dans certains cas, passer par une première étape où l’on travaille surtout avec des exploitants « moyens » (ou les moins petits des petits) qui constitueront le « noyau » auquel se joindront les petits exploitants. Par exemple, les contrôles de qualité du lait, les tanks à lait, la collecte, ont un coût qui devient très élevé (rapporté à la quantité de produit) lorsque la quantité est trop faible ; il peut être difficile pour une coopérative de faire face à de tels coûts en phase de démarrage. Bien entendu, la situation doit être appréciée au cas par cas.

Le rapport préconise aussi de définir des stratégies nationales et territoriales. Comme indiqué plus haut, les participants à l’atelier évoqué en préambule ont abouti aux mêmes conclusions. Le constat a également été fait  que la diversité existe aussi entre les filières de produits, ce qui peut conduire à différencier les stratégies pour un territoire donné.

Les participants de l’atelier ont souligné également le  rôle des Etats, dont on attend la définition et l’application de politiques lisibles en ce qui concerne notamment les investissements publics, l’aide aux investissements privés, un cadre institutionnel stable et en particulier des contrôles efficaces (nécessaires à la santé publique mais aussi à la confiance des consommateurs et des acteurs de la chaîne alimentaire).

Des notes d’informations et des communiqués de l’IIF sur ces sujets sont accessibles sur le site de l’IIF ( à la rubrique « publications », sous-rubriques « notes d’informations » et « communiqués ».

Avec mes meilleures salutations.


Institut International du Froid (IIF)
International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR)
177, boulevard Malesherbes
75017 Paris, France

FSN Forum Team FAO, Italy
FSN Forum

Posted on behalf of the Norwegian Agriculture Cooperatives and Norwegian Farmer's Union

Federation of Norwegian Agriculture Cooperatives and Norwegian Farmer’s Union congratulate the High Level Panel of Experts with the report, and welcome your invitation to consult the report. This work is of great, focusing on the significance of smallholder agriculture challenges and what framework is needed to improve the ability for production within smallholder agriculture.

The report recognizes the heterogeneous nature of smallholder sector, showing diverse support needs. The wording smallholder is a key notion in the report. We would however urge the Panel to include the heterogeneity to a greater extent, and to be more specific about which smallholders are addressed. All smallholder agriculture has challenges which need specific framework concerning for instance access to farmland and markets.

Ensuring access to a well functioning market for smallholder agriculture is important, as recognized in the report. The farmer must be ensured a fear share of the surplus. Farmer owned cooperatives have an important role to play. Protection of the national market is also crucial to many smallholdings.  

We support the report on the necessity of providing secure access to land and natural resources. However, we miss an emphasize on the importance of farmer’s ownership to the land.

We appreciate that the report mention cooperatives specifically, however, we would like the report to emphasize stronger the important role of agriculture cooperatives, for instance in empowering the farmer in the food chain.

We would also like the report to stronger underscore the role of family farming, and how this model of ownership has proven to be a very efficient model, securing continuity and efficiency.

A large part of agricultural production is carried out by smallholdings. This report reminds us of the importance of this work, and is a good platform for further elaborations on this issue.

Best regards,

See the attachment:Norvegian FArmers union .docx
FSN Forum Team FAO, Italy
FSN Forum

Posted on behalf of the Australian Government

The Australian Government acknowledges the importance smallholder agriculture plays in global food security. Smallholders are not only important contributors to food security and agricultural productivity within many countries but also drivers of/ contributors to economic development and enterprise in rural areas. Throughout the developing world smallholder agriculture faces many access constraints. These include access to:

  • secure tenure of land;
  • knowledge and technology transfer;
  • markets and market information;
  • financial services; and
  • social safety nets to protect them during times of crisis.

Like other businesses, smallholders (whether formal or informal) benefit from reforms and improvements in the domestic enabling environment and liberalisation of trade.

In responding to these challenges Australian aid currently supports:

  • lifting agricultural productivity by increasing investment in agricultural research and development, through Australian and international organisations working on food policy and agricultural innovation;
  • improving rural livelihoods by strengthening markets in developing countries and improving market access to increase incomes and employment, and reduce risks for the poor – through enterprise development, better policies and access to financial services; and
  • building community resilience by supporting the establishment and improvement of social protection programs that reduce the vulnerability of the poor to shocks and stresses.

As well Australia is supporting adaptive capacity and resilience through climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction programs.

Australia recognises the importance of trade liberalisation and trade facilitation in underpinning food security, and pursues these through multilateral, regional and bilateral channels. The Australian Government has been a strong advocate for a successful conclusion to the World Trade Organization Doha Round of trade negotiations. From Australia’s perspective a multilateral trade deal offers opportunities to improve global food security. Australia also works to reduce trade barriers through other forums such as the Group of Twenty (G20), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Australia seeks to negotiate and implement comprehensive bilateral free trade agreements that can deliver real benefits for the relevant parties.

Australia recognises the important contribution that investment in agriculture, whether from domestic or overseas sources, can make towards achieving food security. Foreign investment in agriculture can bring benefits to the sector and create opportunities for farmers. It can help to generate higher employment and incomes, investment in infrastructure and improvements to food production capabilities.

Further liberalisation of global agriculture and food markets will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of these markets and ultimately access and availability of food. Liberalisation of markets and improving access to markets and information is also likely to lower the likelihood of information asymmetry, rent seeking, and other market distorting behaviour. This in turn will benefit poor farmers and the food security of the poor by reducing transactions costs, increasing return on investment and providing income and employment opportunities. Food security will be determined by not only how communities and individuals feed themselves, but by their own ability to purchase and consume food at the lowest cost.

1) Definition and significance of smallholder agriculture and related investments is the approach in the report adequate?

Yes. The definitions and significance of smallholder agriculture and related investments are adequate and well defined in the paper. However, there probably should be some caveats put around expectations the document may generate of smallholder systems acting as a panacea for global food insecurity. The reality is that many systems of smallholder farming, while having the potential to significantly increase their local production capacity, will not alleviate global or even local food insecurity because of physical, cultural, social or economic constraints and disincentives. It would be helpful for the report to put smallholder systems in context by outlining the other key approaches that are fundamental in addressing global food security. These could be outlined in the report’s executive summary section and should cover:

  • Emergency assistance and longer term protection for the most vulnerable
  • Increased investment in agricultural research, development and extension
  • Increased focus on agricultural production and distribution and
  • Appropriate economic and trade policies, leading to open and efficient markets to maximise food trade flows, locally and internationally.

2) Framework for Smallholder Agriculture and related investments: is the typology useful, adequate and accessible for the problem at hand?

The typology is useful, well thought out and accessible conceptually. The approach while acknowledging the heterogeneity of smallholder contexts provides an opportunity to clearly analyse what context best describes smallholders in a system, what the system itself looks like, and how changes can be generated to impact on the poor.

There is room for the analysis to be further enhanced by drilling down and further mapping the characteristics of smallholder agriculture with further sub classifications relating to specific areas (i.e. land tenure arrangements (assets) and farmer type (markets) see below).

This is simply an example and other sub-classifications could include prevalence of marketing boards (institutions), cost of doing business (markets, institutions), ease of access to finance and financial institutions (assets, markets, institutions) and other measures all of which could build a very useful typology for analysis and intervention if required.

A better and more nuanced understanding of smallholder agriculture and the constraints to investment and other opportunities they face, would certainly improve Australia and other international partners’ capacities to respond effectively to need.

One issue for consideration in drafting the next version of the document is to ensure that the clarity of thinking is as apparent in the Executive Summary as it is in the body. In reading the Executive Summary the logic and clear thinking within the body of the document is lost by summarising and compressing the thinking - resulting in what looks like a series of headline statements with little of the interconnecting logic of the main text.

3) Constraints to the smallholder investment: are all main constraints represented in the draft?

No. The enabling environment constraints to smallholders and smallholder investment seem to be somewhat overlooked in the paper. Rather than tackling the hard questions of vested interest and the need to reform markets from within, the paper tends to take a broader brush focusing on how farmers operate at the end point of the system.

While flagging institutions in the typology analysis the focus seems to be placed more on the demand than supply side. Thus institutional reform as defined in the document tends to focus on governance at the local level and the empowerment of farmers and farming communities in rural areas rather than on the perverse incentives that some existing and centralised institutions may be exerting on the market. While potentially politically sensitive, the document should use every opportunity it can to highlight where smallholder investment and the opportunities for smallholders can be improved through both centralised macro-reform (of say commodity marketing boards and departments of agriculture) alongside micro-reforms to the farming sector. The domestic reform and market access activities are a necessary precursor to securing the potential gains for smallholder farmers from trade liberalisation. Farmers often lack access to domestic markets as a first step to achieving export potential.

There is also a slight bias towards protectionism in some of the analysis and prescribed solutions. Even with respect to new economic entrants – such as modern retail markets – there is a focus on protection of the smallholder and their existence. Institutional and policy reforms which have often been slow are being overtaken in some regions by private market developments, such as investment in modern retail chains, which open both opportunities and challenges to smallholders as urbanisation continues to grow across many countries. Traditional institutions/policies are either hampering or confusing these autonomous developments and constraining rather than facilitating farmer participation. Both protectionism and domestic subsidies are cases in point in many countries. Over the longer term, such innovations and changes in the market place may lead to greater income and employment opportunities, improved access, availability and utilisation of food, and ultimately poverty alleviation. Protecting the cultural aspects of smallholder society seems a misplaced aspect of the paper given its focus on smallholder investment and opportunity.

While purporting to be market focused, the paper is in fact very public investment and public good oriented. This includes recommendations in support of public goods such as research, health services, extension and even asset transfers. Less focus is given to how sustainable markets can and will be developed over the longer term. Even financial services have a focus on cooperative rather than commercial services. While products like a ‘National Smallholder Vision and Strategic Framework’ are often seen as important outcomes from such analyses there should be an emphasis in this document around less planned approaches to smallholder investment and opportunity, and more on systemic reform that will result in long term change.

The report should give greater focus to the role of agriculture and trade reform and the importance of developing well-functioning markets at the local, regional and international levels.

On Food sovereignty (page 20 paragraph 7)

Australia notes the use of the term “food sovereignty” in the report and suggests that its use be avoided. Food security refers to the ability of a country to determine its own agriculture and food policies, however, some use food sovereignty to justify policies that perpetuate existing trade distortions or introduce new ones.

On Speculation (Page 65 paragraph 5.3.1.)

Australia suggests that the sentence “Speculation in agricultural commodity derivatives market exacerbates price volatility and prevents most vulnerable smallholders from investing.” be excluded. A June 2011 report to the G20 (by expert organisations led by the OECD, FAO, and others) concluded that speculation was not a major influence on prices or volatility and that demand and supply remain the fundamental drivers of price formation for agricultural and food commodities

FSN Forum Team FAO, Italy
FSN Forum

Posted on behalf of Samuel Gebreselassie, Future Agricultures Consortium, Ethiopia

Dear Moderator,

This is a short contribution on your zero draft report of the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition on ‘Investing in Smallholder Agriculture for Food and Nutrition Security’ which is open to comments from experts and researchers working on small farmers.

In addition to low productivity which is largely technical problem, a fast and sustained growth of small farmers especially in potential areas (of Ethiopia) could also be a non-technical problem, i.e. narrow aspiration and fatalism which is largely psychological problem but might restrict the aspiration and desire for change of small, largely poor farmers.  A study by Bernard et al (2012), for instance, suggests that fatalism lowers the demand for long-term loans and loans for future-oriented productive purposes (Bernard et al (2012). This problem might be complicated by government policy that considers small farmers as homogenous group of farmers.

Currently I am conducting an exploratory study aiming to describe the emerging market-led agriculture in Ethiopia in general and the emerging small-investor farmers in particular. The core research question this study investigates revolves around enabling environments and future aspiration and goals of such emerging small-investor farmers. It also assesses alternative policy and institutional options or supports that might help such farmers fulfill their dreams, which will have pull effect on other ‘average’ farmers.

Though no statistics is available on the number of small-investor farmers currently exist in Ethiopia; their number is expected to grow overtime especially in high potential areas like Lume district in central Ethiopia where the study is conducted.

The major thesis of the study is that such farmers need different type of support and to convince Ethiopian policy makers to outline separate policy and technical package for such farmers.

The major purpose of my writing to you is, however, to share you the following two pie charts from my ongoing analysis.

The survey of aspiration and dreams of the study farmers also reveal diverse difference in their future aspiration, dreams and ‘perceived’ goals.

Despite some weakness in the method that include lack of sampling frame that forced the sample not to be representative (to the true population) and its consequent impact on having no knowledge on the number or the percentage share of such emerging farmers in the farming population of the study area, the study clearly indicate the need for special support for such kind of emerging farmers.

After an in-depth revision of Ethiopia’s five year development plan, IMF also provides similar kind of recommendation for Ethiopian government.

“Excluding domestic or foreign private commercial large farmers, the broader agricultural policy of the country overlooked this emerging group of small-investor farmers.  Most government policy and strategy documents consider silently the rest of small farmers as homogeneous or near-homogenous group. Critics, however, recommends the government to rethink otherwise. The IMF, for instance, in its evaluation of the government five-year (2010/11-2014/15) development plan commonly known as the GTP, advise the government the importance of private investments for smallholder agriculture and broaden its narrowly defined private sector agriculture to include both commercial large investors as well as emerging small farmers (IMF, 2011).”

To summarize, my points are two. First, any support to smallholder farmers should not be limited to technical or market support but should also focused on building their psychological makeup that is essential to broaden their aspiration and desire for change. Second, any technical or policy support for small farmers should not be uniform and should not be standardised as small farmers could not be homogenous or near-homogenous group.

Finally, the above two pie charts as well as the points discussed were drawn from my on going research work financed and conducted by Future Agricultures Consortium or FAC (

Finally, my contribution might not be relevant if your open electronic consultation strictly based on the points raised on your V0 Draft as I will read it after this comment or at time in the near future. My apology for this.


Samuel Gebreselassie,

Research Fellow,

Future Agricultures Consortium.