On one hand, investments are needed to help optimise the efficiency, competitiveness, and sustainability of commercial small-scale agriculture. On the other, there must be targeted strategies to support those trapped in rural poverty or who are transitioning to alternative employment.
The report suggests that current measures such as subsidies and price support schemes are often ineffective, and fail to tackle the deeper and longer-term structural challenges of transforming small-scale agriculture.
According to Dr John Ingram, who leads the ECI’s Food Systems Transformation Group, the need for a new approach is crucial. “Profound changes are rapidly occurring in global food systems,” he says. “We need to re-envision the future for small-scale family farming to promote the production of healthy food within environmental limits, while also enhancing peoples’ livelihoods.”
Transformation necessitates policy and practice that is grounded in systems thinking, supported by synthesis of research and underpinned by plausible scenarios to assess trade-offs and re-imagined policy options. Only in this way can the pathways be found for the family farming sector to truly play a role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).