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Developing a "Smallholder Maturity Model", a tool enabling agricultural institutions to address smallholders' real needs and empower them long-term

  • Unsustainable production- and lifestyle patterns which are reaching into present have destroyed the global environment to such a degree, that severe consequence already became visible. Albert Einstein once said “A new way of thinking is necessary if humanity wants to live on.” Seeing themselves confronted with an enormous climatic change, scarce resources, and increasing inequalities, people became aware of the need for this new way of thinking - sustainable thinking. As agriculture is the sector which uses the largest amount of land it is essential that agricultural practices be performed sustainably. Instead of using more resources, farmers are called to increase their productivity by applying more efficient farming practices. By increasing productivity and efficiency, farmers could “close the gap between their actual and potential yield”. As if things weren’t tough enough as they are, the world population is increasing exponentially. As the world’s population increases, so too does the number of hungry. Therefore, the agricultural productivity needs to be increased by 70%. To achieve this goal, the smallholder sector – 84% of all people active in agriculture – needs to be empowered, enabling smallholder farmers to successfully contribute to global food security. This collaboration would generate four winners: The environment, as agricultural practices would be performed more sustainably, the world population, as there would be more food available, the smallholder farmers themselves, as they would generate more income by selling higher yields and would therefore be lifted out of poverty, and the agricultural companies, as they would gain additional trading partners. As worldwide smallholder situations differ substantially a tool – called the “Smallholder Maturity Model” - is needed to analyze the actual empowerment level of a specific smallholder population and by doing so, enabling agricultural institutions to address smallholders’ real needs and empower them long-term. The development of the aforementioned tool is based on reports published by esteemed agricultural organizations, articles written by research specialists, namable databases and interviews with internal and external specialists disposing about high class agricultural knowledge. According to the analysis-results of the present work, the smallholder farmers’ empowerment level strongly depends on being supported– in terms of financial support as well as trainings. Only smallholder farmers who are supported are able to apply good and sustainable agricultural practices, increase their efficiency and sell their yield more competitively. Therefore, the “Smallholder Maturity Model” is a helpful tool to generate a picture of the actual smallholder situation and facilitate the decision-making process of agricultural institutions interested in developing adequate supporting-strategies. In order to get country or crop specific survey results, the rating of the several possible answers could be adjusted to the specific regional conditions As the only objective is finding an effective way to empower smallholder farmers and improve their situations, both application methods are acknowledged.

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Author:Carolin Fischer
Advisor:Frank Kramer
Document Type:Bachelor Thesis
Year of Completion:2016
Granting Institution:Hochschule Furtwangen
Release Date:2016/04/26
Tag:Food security; Smallholders; Sustainable agriculture
Degree Program:IBW - Internationale Betriebswirtschaft
Functional area:Business Strategy
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt