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Focus Areas

The causes of poverty and food insecurity are complex and vary between countries and regions with no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Our flexible model allows countries to customize investments to meet multiple needs and cross-cutting national priorities to have profound impacts beyond the agriculture sector.

The SDGs recognize that food — the way it is grown, produced, traded, transported, processed, stored, and marketed — fundamentally connects people and the planet and creates a path to inclusive economic growth.

Strengthening the global food system through diverse sources of finance, innovative partnerships, and a range of operational tools is crucial to realize the SDGs focused on poverty, hunger, climate, gender, strong institutions, decent work.

Access to Finance

Financial institutions often face challenges in providing services and lending to the agricultural sector, in particular to smallholder farmers. Shut out from traditional forms of banking, these farmers have little access to formalized financing. Many have undocumented credit histories, unstable incomes, and limited collateral, as well as exposure to extreme uncertainties in weather, production, and markets.

Access to financial services allows these farmers to raise productivity, enable better access to markets, and promote better management of risks. Financing helps them access better inputs and invest in new technologies, contributing to longer-term food security. With our help, farmers move from the subsistence/semi-commercial level to the commercial. This helps increase their resilience to the effects of climate change.

We connect smallholder farmers with financial intermediaries on the ground in developing countries. Through GAFSP financing, these financial intermediaries – such as local banks, small, and medium enterprises – can offer loan facilities with affordable rates to small farmers.

Climate Change

Agriculture is one of the most climate-sensitive sectors as it is both a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions —up to 25 percent— and highly susceptible to its effects. Given that 80 percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas and rely heavily on agriculture for their food security and livelihoods, climate change has a disproportionate effect on smallholder farmers. 

We recognize that climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our times. Our work directly addresses climate change through mitigation and adoption technologies, such as:

  • Resilient seed varieties
  • More efficient irrigation
  • Drought resistant mulching
  • Increased intercropping

By assisting smallholder farmers to proactively adapt to impending climate threats, GAFSP helps stave off and mitigate an increase in food insecurity.

Fragility

It is estimated that close to half of the world’s extreme poor will live in countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV) by 2030. While the agricultural sector can be adversely affected by conflict, it is often also the most agile sector to help countries recover by rapidly absorbing large amounts of labor, rebuilding household economies, providing access to food, and providing adequate employment.

Our projects help address both immediate needs of FCV countries and long-term development and stability. We focus on supporting smallholder farmers to recover, rebuild and prevent future crises.

Gender

Women are key players in the smallholder agricultural sector around the world. 60-80 percent of economically active women work in agriculture in Africa, making it world’s largest employer of women. At the same time, women across the world are more at risk of being food insecure than men. Persistent cultural, legal and economic inequalities continue to ensure that women’s agricultural productivity is less than that of men. Estimates show that with access to the same resources as men, women could increase yields on their farms by 20-30 percent, thereby raising incomes and reducing hunger and malnutrition.

Our work empowers women by:

  • Contributing to equitable access to agriculture-related productive assets,
  • Providing training opportunities, income-generating activities and employment
  • Helping promote women’s leadership and decision-making in farmers’ organizations and self-help groups
  • Raising women’s awareness of improved nutrition, food preparation, and feeding practices

Inclusive Business

Despite the critical role of smallholders as food producers, their commercial prospects remain challenging due to poor infrastructure, inadequate financial services, high transfer and transaction costs, and changing prices in food markets. As a result, many farmers are often not able to sell all their produce, and, at the same time, people in rural areas are not able to access food from the markets.

We support countries, farmers, and businesses in efforts to overcome these challenges. We know that farmers who are linked to larger local, national and global value chains can not only have more stable incomes but increase their competitiveness in the long run. Through our investments, farmers gain a better understanding of market standards, develop relationships with other buyers and secure access to resources and new technology.

Jobs and Income

More than 80 percent of the world’s extreme poor live in rural areas and depend largely on farming to make a living, yet agriculture accounts for only one-third of global employment. Growth in the agriculture and food sectors has the potential to create both on- and off- farm jobs, as well as jobs in the broader economy. Agriculture is critical for creating wage jobs, generating self-employment, and for encouraging entrepreneurship.

Promoting farm and non-farm jobs is one of our priority areas – 62 percent of our public sector investments are related to creating direct jobs. 

Our projects support initiatives such as:

  • Professionalizing cooperatives
  • Improving irrigation systems for entire communities
  • Introducing better water and land management techniques

Nutrition

After many years in decline, hunger is on the rise again in almost all regions globally, and low-income countries in Africa and Asia continue to bear the greatest share of malnutrition. Undernutrition in children accounts for 45 percent of all child deaths and contributes to the stunting of children. Additionally, obesity is on the rise, contributing to 4 million deaths globally. Agriculture has an important role to play in improving nutrition. Through agriculture, we can increase access to healthy and nutritious food and ensure dietary diversity.

Our projects use various strategies to improve nutrition through their work, such as:

  • Nutrition education
  • Food fortification
  • Commercialization of nutritious food
  • Crop diversification
  • Encouraging value chain actors to embed nutrition services

Our Impact Stories

From the Cow to the Customer – Women Farmers in Bangladesh Organize Themselves

It all started when Renu Bala, a dairy farmer from the village of Panjor Bhanga in northern Bangladesh, went from house-to-house to pitch her idea to create a cooperative.

Read the Impact Story