Producing more with less by increasing efficiency and improving ecosystem services is a core concept of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and integral to achieving SDG goals.
The principle objective of this concept is to promote sustainable agricultural practices, improve the livelihoods of farmers and make healthy food available to all consumers.
While intensive agriculture methods have helped to reduce the number of undernourished people and drive rural development, these achievements have come at a high cost. Fortunately, there is growing evidence that agricultural production can be intensified in a sustainable manner.
For example, integrated pest management (IPM) reduces use of synthetic pesticides and improves natural biological pest control as an ecosystem service, crop rotation can replenish soil nutrients, and efficient irrigation can reduce impacts on local water sources.
These and other sustainable agricultural practices are slowly spreading throughout the supply chain, by way of voluntary standards and private certifications schemes.
In recent years, a few business models have incentivized producers in developing countries to increase food production using sustainable practices and improving the provision of sustainable goods to local consumers.
One of the most widespread innovations is the emergence of new institutional and market intermediaries who take on a wider range of roles in linking farmers with markets for their produce.
These intermediaries include a range of organizations that provide support to producers to learn sustainable production techniques and market their sustainable products and services through merging systems or partnerships.
For example, participatory guarantee systems (PGS), marketing cooperatives, training centers, private traders or local public procurement agencies.
Access to financial capital (e.g. loans and subsidies) also plays an important part in raising income and contributes to their quality of life. Social capital – networks of relationships among a community – is also important to farmers. Especially smallholder farmers in rural communities, as a means to pool resources to purchase shared equipment or negotiate better prices for inputs.
Smallholder farmers rely on technological innovations, private sector incentives and governmental subsidies to optimize their economic position.
Notwithstanding, by adopting more sustainable practices, farmers can raise their livelihoods. As such, we seek to help farmers to develop their skills in the following areas:
- “Climate-smart” agricultural solutions.
- Developing “sustainable” and value-added products
- Providing market outlets for sustainably produced food and fibers, locally and abroad.
- Entrepreneurship training.
To ensure that expenditures contribute directly to farmers’ livelihoods and well-being, it is important that partnering organizations:
- Engage stakeholders.
- Provide research on farmers needs and capabilities.
- Take into account local realities.
- Evaluate potential benefits based on expenditures and available manpower.
In the past, many organizations have utilized “audits” as the singular tool to guarantee food quality, labor rights, health, safety and environmental compliance. At Global Standards, we are seeking partners interested in creating collaborative tools to empower farmers to strengthen their economic standing and deliver sustainable business models.
We aim to sustain value chains by benefiting consumers, stakeholders and the natural environment. Through in-depth interviews and physical assessments, partners will better understand the impacts of their agricultural activities on farmers and their communities.
Once strengths and weaknesses are identified, our experts will identify intervention points for sustainable change. Development programs will be designed to suit client’s objectives and meet the needs of their stakeholders.