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THE FARMERS

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60% of jobs in sub-Saharan Africa come from agriculture

SMALLHOLDER FARMERS ARE CRITICAL FOR AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT

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What is a smallholder farmer?

80% of farms in Africa are less than 2 hectares. While there is no strict definition for a smallholder farmer, they tend to own a small plot of land. All of the labor used to maintain the crops comes from the family or the community and usually only subsistence or a few cash crops are grown.

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Who is the typical farmer?

According to the United Nations, 70% of farm labor comes from women. In Kenya, 85% of maize farms are run by women. Women are the face and heart of agriculture. These women rely upon their family for labor and community.

What is subsistence farming?

In subsistence farming, crops are grown with the intent to feed the farmer and family. If a farmer has surplus from her harvest, then she can choose to sell the extra food as income. If the crops are destroyed, she is left with few choices as the food she grows is often times the only food her family will be able to eat. 

WHAT PROBLEMS DO SMALLHOLDER FARMERS FACE?

Access to
quality inputs

Farmers are not able to access new agricultural technology such as hybrid seeds, fertilizer, and irrigation.

Pests

Pests can destroy entire fields of crops without warning. Whether the pests are weeds like striga or insects like Fall armyworm, farmers are left struggling.  

Adequate storage

Crop storage is crucial to protect food from toxins, mold, insects, and rodents.  If food supply gets infected, it leads to post-harvest loss.

Volatile market

Maize prices are variable throughout the year. The prices are low for farmers when they need to sell and high when they need to buy.

Climate change

Global warming has created a longer drought, more intense flooding, and unpredictable weather patterns. Farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are in the frontline of climate change.

Lack of information

Without access to agricultural education, farmers lack information on how to achieve the greatest yield in their fields.