An agricultural strategy that adopts a holistic, market-oriented approach is a new way of thinking that is much more inclusive and less compartmentalized than the approaches that have been in use prior to now.
Agriculture is like a platform that responds to a wide range of inter-connected needs including increasing household income, health and nutrition, environmental upkeep, and natural disasters.
It is believed that the market-oriented approach to agricultural development will be an effective way of helping the poorest rural farming households climb out of their fraught condition.
Over 75% of the world poor and hungry are farmers, and ironically, their profession is to grow food. The reason is that many employ outdated agricultural tools and techniques, thus, despite their hard work; millions of them barely grow enough to feed their families.
Many agriculture programs aim to address this issue by providing services, such as farmers’ training or farm inputs; yet, few of such programs address all of the farmers’ hindrances to growing more food.
A program that offers small loan to farmers is of little use if farmers cannot find farming inputs such as seed and fertilizer to buy in or around their communities.
Sometimes, even when farmers can access farming inputs, they do not always know how to make the most use of them and when they eventually find the inputs and use them successfully, and then there are no markets to sell their additional yield.
Thus, farmers need support in accessing inputs, training, and markets in order to increase their yields and incomes.
At some points in African agricultural development, the government created large enterprises, with monopoly powers, to manage the supply chain for agriculture.
They typically provided inputs of seed and fertilizer to farmers, usually on credit, and then guaranteed the farmers to buy up whatever marketed surplus they would offer after the harvest.
At this time, transactions costs were low, because the state was prepared to subsidize operations and absorb losses. This agricultural strategy had several successes in stimulating smallholder production of agricultural products, but they proved unsustainable, because costs were high, and inefficiencies were prevalent. Thus, from the mid-1980s most of them were either closed or scaled down.
For sustainable agriculture to be achieved in developing nations, the powers that be need to help small family farms improve how they produce resources, thereby improving the conditions of their communities.
More than 80% of the world’s food supply is produced by household farmers, and that statistics are even higher in the developing world. These smallholder farmers are the foundations of their communities, yet they also are some of the most vulnerable to economic traumas.
Helping these small entrepreneur households succeed is significant for improving the living standards of rural communities and building a future that provides nutritious food, family stability, and sustainable prospects.
In order to improve farming in developing nations, an approach to use a market-based approach to make the technologies and practices for better agriculture more readily available to farmers in developing countries is needed.
Furthermore, solutions to enable farmers to grow more, better, higher value crops should be offered at a cheap rate. Things like drip irrigation kits, manual and solar pumps, improved seeds, advice on planting and crop rotations should be extended to these farmers.
Farm Business Advisors should also be on the ground to help provide farmers with the resources and know-how to integrate these technologies and practices into their agricultural production. This will help create sustainable development.
Market-Based Approaches as a Bridge between Solutions and the People Who Need Them
The use of market-based solutions as agents against poverty has been confirmed by many major business figures as a beneficial practice that is sustainable.
It is not just about coming up with solutions, but providing people with the tools, knowledge, and skills to create a lasting change of their own. This will help establish sustainable development in developing nations.
Economic growth has helped many out of poverty, but many more people still remain poor, unable to effectively participate or benefit from economic growth despite being economically active as workers, producers, and consumers.
Structural inequalities and other limitations like policy, legal and cultural environments ensure that they lack information, inputs, services, and skills development they need to be competitive and to adapt to the challenges and opportunities that come with the economic growth.
Smallholder farmers require a combination of agricultural and business skills to truly succeed in a market system. The market systems approach, which leverages local systems to deliver goods and services, is a sustainable way to end hunger and poverty.
Demonstration-based interventions will help create both the demand for new technologies and the critical mass of high-quality supply, necessary for input suppliers and buyers to invest in areas that have been initially neglected.
By aligning profit incentives, sustainable service delivery between willing local commercial agribusinesses and smallholders will be fostered.