With climate change threatening global food production, companies from Olam to Unilever are focusing on lifting smallholder farmers out of poverty
Experts says humans must somehow increase food production by 70% by 2050 to feed ourselves, yet if we do that by conventional production means our greenhouse gas emissions will soar (around 70%), our water sources suffer and our soils degrade.
It is farmers, and mostly smaller-scale farmers, who are expected to achieve those dazzling productivity gains while performing a sustainable agriculture miracle.Yet these same smallholders are struggling to lift themselves from poverty and food insecurity.
Luckily helping smallholders achieve more sustainability is rising on corporations’ radar: from Olam to Unilever, conglomerates committed to responsible sourcing and smallholder wellbeing have formed important multi-stakeholder partnerships to work with smallholders and get them the tools they need to be more productive, profitable and sustainable.
This includes last month’s launch of the Global Agri-business Alliance, which brings together agribusiness producers with traders, processors, and suppliers for food and non-food crops. GAA members say they aim to scale up measures that improve livelihoods for smallholders, increase sustainable development, and move toward the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 2 of ending world hunger.
The companies do this in part for reputational reasons, but also because there’s a good business case to be made for securing sourcing in a world...