Investing in smallholder agriculture for food security and nutrition

Investing in smallholder agriculture for food security and nutrition

HLPE. 2013. Investing in smallholder agriculture for food security. A report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security, Rome. 111 pages

The issue of investments in agriculture, and especially in smallholder agriculture, and related policies and institutions to support smallholder agriculture (FAO, 2010a), is at the top of the agenda of the international community. It is of critical importance today, as agriculture is undergoing massive changes in a period when both public and private investors are trying to secure their access to land and water (HLPE, 2011a), and confidence in the ability of the market to ensure food security has been undermined by the food price rises in 2008 (HLPE, 2011b).

In line with these developments, the CFS requested the HLPE to conduct: “a comparative study of constraints to smallholder investment in agriculture in different contexts with policy options for addressing these constraints, taking into consideration the work done on this topic by IFAD, and by FAO in the context of COAG, and the work of other key partners. This should include a comparative assessment of strategies for linking smallholders to food value chains in national and regional markets and what can be learned from different experiences, as well as an assessment of the impacts on smallholders of public-private as well as farmer cooperative-private and private-private partnerships” (CFS 37, Final Report, October 20113).

The present report contributes to the lively debate on investments in agriculture by focusing on the crucial role of smallholder agriculture for food security and by tackling the complexity of smallholder production systems, as well as the constraints they face, in the broader perspective of the structural transformations of agriculture worldwide.


Research that involves smallholders in the definition of research priorities and the design and execution of research according to participatory and empowering methodologies is crucial. This is the best way to ensure that research results respond to the complex social and economic, as well as ecological, contexts of smallholders. In order to achieve this, research systems must be more accountable to smallholders in terms of their institutional priorities, the impact of their work, and their funding. (page 82)

Interview with Pierre-Marie Bosc, an agro-economist at CIRAD who headed the team (J. Berdegué, M. Goïta, J. Douwe van der Ploeg, K. Sekine, L. Zhang) tasked with writing the report. The report Investing in smallholder agriculture for food security is the sixth HLPE report drafted at the request of the CFS and the second coordinated by a CIRAD researcher.

(Videos in French) Published on 23 Oct 2013. 
Investir dans la petite agriculture : les contraintes (1/2)

Quelles sont les contraintes à l’investissement dans la petite agriculture familiale et comment les lever ? C’est à cette double question que le Groupe d’experts de haut niveau sur la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition (HLPE) répond dans un rapport réalisé à la demande du Comité de la sécurité alimentaire (CSA). Entretien avec Pierre-Marie Bosc, agro-économiste au Cirad et responsable de l’équipe (J. Berdegué, M. Goïta, J. Douwe van der Ploeg, K. Sekine, L. Zhang) en charge du rapport. (Réalisation et montage : E. Bru, Ph. Causse © Cirad, 2013)

Investir dans la petite agriculture : recommandations (2/2) 

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