Support for smallholder agriculture is increasingly important, both to boost productivity during food crises and to raise the incomes of rural poor people. However, in order to maximize the potential of agricultural investment, NGOs and other development organizations need to act as facilitators of multistakeholder processes that establish new types of farmer organization; to create alliances to influence policy and investment; to propose new business models; and to develop innovative ways of delivering market services.
In 2005, Oxfam launched the Global Agriculture Scale Up Initiative (GASUI) with the aim of empowering smallholder farmers to improve their own livelihoods. A workshop was held in Oxford in 2009 which brought together 23 participants from 17 country and regional programmes and three Oxfam affiliates. This book is an outcome of that learning process. Small Farmers, Big Change will help NGOs build their capacity to identify the most strategic pathways and leaders for change, while working with small farmers as the key agents. The book presents very practical examples of achieving wider change in smallholder agriculture, documented by Oxfam programme staff. The chapters review different pathways to achieving change: by influencing policy and investment decisions; by linking smallholders into markets and value chains; and by devising new approaches to service provision for small farmers. Case studies focus on the approaches used with partner organizations, including identifying and managing risks, promoting equitable livelihoods, and encouraging and developing rural women’s economic leadership. The overall approach is inclusive, transparent, and critical, and includes an analysis of challenges faced, and proposals for future work.