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Approximately 97 percent of the world’s farmers farm on less than 10 hectares (about 25 acres) of land. They represent approximately 550 million smallholders in low- and middle-income countries, especially across Asia and Africa. These farmers, many under 2 hectares (about 5 acres) feed more than half of the population in these regions. Therefore, it’s no exaggeration to say that smallholder farmers play a big role in global agriculture and food security.
While farmers all over the world face challenges such as extreme weather, pests, crop disease, and uncertain markets, many smallholder farmers lack access to the solutions they need to overcome these challenges and grow enough food to support their livelihoods and the communities that depend on them.
As a global leader in agriculture, we’re uniquely positioned to help. This is why, by 2030, we're committed to empowering 100 million smallholder farmers in developing regions by improving access to agronomic knowledge, products, services, and partnerships.
When smallholder farmers thrive, so do the people around them—that means communities with better nutrition and increased access to healthcare, education, and other opportunities.
Umakant is passionate about farming and extremely open to new technologies to increase crop production on his chili, tomato, and garlic farm. His main aim in learning to apply new technologies is to increase crop production and increase his family’s earnings. After all, farming is their only source of income.
Some quick facts about Umakant:
- Grows chili, tomato, and garlic in Chaudharipur, a village in Uttar Pradesh, India
- Is keen to apply new technologies to increase his family’s income
- Wants to earn more to buy his own house and car, and get his children educated
Improving smallholder livelihoods
What does it mean to empower 100 million smallholder farmers, and how will we do so? We’re focusing our efforts and innovations in three key areas:
Providing farming expertise and insights, such as:
- Digital tools, such as the FarmRise™ app, bring market insights, weather forecasts, and free agronomic advice directly to farmers’ phones, helping them reduce the risk of crop loss and farm more sustainably
- Training programs, like BayG.A.P., teach smallholder farmers the best management and agriculture practices, including safe use of pesticides, compliance with international trade rules, and how to access local partnerships and outreach efforts
Establishing and growing innovative partnerships that improve access to resources, agronomic know-how, markets, and health services such as:
- The Better Life Farming Alliance, an initiative led by Bayer, helps farmers in the developing world grow their farms into sustainable businesses by providing a comprehensive approach, offering support in areas such as seed planting, precision irrigation, crop protection, finance, and insurance. Already present in several countries in Southeast Asia and Africa, the Alliance expanded its support to Indonesia and Bangladesh and added new banking services to its activities in India. Better Life Farming is also testing and implementing gender-smart approaches and creating new job opportunities for youth.
- Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) partnership, in place for over a decade, combats the impact of droughts and insects to maize crops by providing royalty-free drought-tolerant and insect-resistant seeds, and developing locally adapted hybrids available to all seed companies in Africa
- The WASH partnership in India helps farmers make the best use of their water resources by educating and implementing responsible crop protection practices and conservation strategies, ensuring clean water is available for domestic consumption, public health, and collective benefit
Delivering cutting edge agricultural inputs and solutions tailored to smallholder farmers’ unique challenges including:
- Better Farms, Better Lives initiative providing up to two million smallholder farmers with “care packages” tailored to specific local needs that may include, seeds for crops such as tomatoes, peppers, rice and corn, crop protection products, personal protective equipment and safety, and training materials
- Access to hybrid and biotech seed innovations such as Arize hybrid rice varieties bred to withstand pests and flooding which can cause huge crop losses
- Drone-enabled precision application of crop protection through the introduction of safety protocols and standards as well as pilot safety training
Ensuring Public Health in Smallholder Farming Communities, including:
- Fighting Malaria and protecting the health of rural farming communities. Watch how agricultural research helps fight Malaria
- Deploying vector control solutions across India to help people withstand diseases such as malaria and dengue, which would otherwise thrive in the wake of pervasive flooding
- Partnering with ZeroBy40, an international coalition working together to eradicate malaria by 2040
Measuring and communicating our impact and reach transparently
Transparency means accountability. The progress we make to empower 100 million smallholder farmers in low-and-middle-income countries by 2030 will be independently verified and transparently communicated.
We will measure and assess our impact on smallholders via a set of impact KPIs focusing on smallholder livelihood developments, for example in the dimensions of productivity (i.e. yields), profitability (i.e. income), inclusion (i.e. access to markets and inputs), and the environment (i.e. impact reduction and climate change mitigation).
A third-party partner will be appointed to help us measure our impact and we will transparently track all our progress here for all to see.