The world’s population is expected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050. Meanwhile, concurrent rises in
incomes and urbanization are driving increased consumption of meat, dairy, and biofuels.
Meeting the demand for food, feed, and biofuel will require a global production increase of almost
50 percent relative to 2012. Production in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa—where 95 percent
of farms are smaller than five hectares—must double at a minimum.
A key element of policies to increase food production will be promoting improved food quality,
as the health costs of too much, too little, and the wrong types of food become increasingly
evident. Additional initiatives must address how to reduce food losses; globally, one-third of food
production is lost or wasted at different stages in the food chain each year. Climate change is
bringing further stressors.
These challenges also present opportunities. Around the world, 450 million smallholder farmers
are plagued by low productivity and poor access to inputs, technology, knowledge, financing, and
markets. Agribusinesses are increasingly working directly with smallholder farmers in low- and
middle-income countries to help secure a sustainable supply of key agricultural commodities while
boosting rural incomes and economic growth. Sourcing directly from smallholders can expand a
firm’s supply base, reduce margins paid to collectors and middlemen, facilitate improvements in quality
and yield, and deliver premium prices for a certified fair-trade or sustainably produced product.
Smallholders also represent a growing market for farm inputs, information, and financial services.
Agribusiness firms can help smallholders to increase productivity and improve crop quality; access
know-how to mitigate social and environmental impacts; develop farm management skills and combine
their production with other farmers to achieve sufficient scale to be effective market players;
and meet the growing demand for safe, sustainable food by improving practices and introducing
traceability and certification systems.
Working with Smallholders: A Handbook for Firms Building Sustainable Supply Chains shows how
agribusinesses can develop more sustainable, resilient, and productive supply chains and illustrates
the substantial impact of doing so on development. The book compiles innovative solutions and
cutting-edge ideas to meet the challenges, and it incorporates a diverse collection of hands-on
case studies from across the world that cover a variety of agribusiness sectors. This second edition
builds on the lessons learned and provides updates in leading trends and technologies from those
provided in the first edition published in 2014.