Linking smallholders to markets

Linking smallholders to markets

From left to right: Steve Wiggins, Stephanie Hanson, Sir Gordon Conway, Jean-Pierre Halkin, Leonard Mizzi 

11th November 2013. Brussels. DG AGRI European Commission. Leaping and Learning: LINKING SMALLHOLDERS TO MARKETS. Agriculture for Impact and the Overseas Development Institute organised a round-table discussion on linking smallholders to markets in Africa.

The event launched two new reports which provide practical, real-life examples of linking smallholder farmers in Africa to markets, as well as a robust academic review of the challenges faced, lessons learned and path ahead.

  1. Leaping and Learning: Linking Smallholders to Markets: Commissioned by Agriculture for Impact and produced by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), this report is the result of a comprehensive review of existing case studies and academic literature on improving market access in Africa and provides a set of guidance for donors, policymakers and development practitioners to incorporate into future action. 
  2. 8 Views for the G8: Business Solutions for African Smallholder Farmers to Address Food Security and Nutrition: A second complementary report, edited by Agriculture for Impact, offers G8 leaders and other decision-makers a set of practical solutions and case studies from eight leading agriculture NGOs on how to connect smallholder farmers in Africa to agricultural value chains – to increase their production and productivity, improve their nutrition and boost their incomes and livelihoods.


  • Leonard Mizzi (co-chair), Head of Unit, Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission
  • Jean-Pierre Halkin (co-chair), Head of Unit, Rural Development, Food Security and Nutrition, EuropeAid, European Commission
  • Sir Gordon Conway, Director, Agriculture for Impact and author, One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?
  • Steve Wiggins, Research Fellow, Overseas Development Institute
  • Stephanie Hanson, Director of Policy and Outreach, One Acre Fund
Related PAEPARD blog posts 
27/07/2012: Workshops on linking farmers to markets
07/06/2013: Agricultural business development services
The business of agricultural business services. Working with smallholders in Africa.
Mariana Wongtschowski, John Belt, Willem Heemskerk and David Kahan Editors
2013, 192 pages.

Related training opportunity:
IFDC, Bamako, Mali 7-11 juillet, 2014

Edited by Giel Ton and Felicity Proctor
November 2013, 132 pages
This book describes the dynamics in eleven countries that were included in the programme between 2008 and 2013. Context mattered and this is demonstrated in the diversity in themes prioritised and selected in each of the countries. These ranged from research on modalities of collective marketing to the generation of evidence on the impact of seed programmes, the design of market information systems and electronic trading systems to the legal and administrative hurdles that prevent smallholders from selling to government procurement programmes. The chapters give insight in the advocacy strategies of national farmer organisations and their use of research and evidence to strengthen the voice of smallholder farmers and formulate pro-active proposals for change.
The Empowering Smallholder Farmers in Markets programme (ESFIM) creates a space for learning-by-doing on institutional modalities to bridge the gap between the research community and national farmer organisations on issues relating to smallholder market access. It generates research-informed proposals for change in the enabling/disabling institutional environment and it supports the capacities of national farmer organisations to engage in related advocacy activities. 


The Last Hunger Season. This book is an intimate portrait of the lives of four smallholder farmers in western Kenya who are working with One Acre Fund to move from subsistence farming to sustainable farming, from farming to live to farming to make a living.

To order the book, click here or visit

Roger Thurow is the author of The Last Hunger. Season: A Year In An African Farm Community On The Brink Of Change. He is also co-author of Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty. He is the Executive Producer of The Last Hunger Season documentary film. He was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal for 30 years, 20 of them as a foreign correspondent based in Europe and Africa. He has reported from more than two-dozen African countries and written extensively about the humanitarian and development issues of the continent.

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