The crucial role of smallholder farmers in a changing climate

The crucial role of smallholder farmers
in food security and poverty elimination
in a changing climate
Outline / Plan
1. The Agrarian Crisis
2. The unique and crucial role of SHFs
3. The relevance and potential of agro-ecology
4. The need for re-orientation of climate and
development policy
5. Examples
1. The Agrarian Crisis
9 billion people by 2050
Climate change is impacting on food production
The majority of people are fed with food
provided locally by smallholder farmers,
of which at least half are women
Many women are farming by default
– for survival
2. The potential of Smallholder
Farmers, Herders & Fishers
 Unique knowledge and relationship with the land and
natural resources -> adaptation
 It is not easy to work with the poor and small-scale
… BUT …
this should not mean further marginalization
 Existing systems are loaded against smallholders
System change is needed so smallholders become a
central part of the global food system
- the Climate Change agreement – a step in doing that
3. Agro-ecology
 A science, set of principles and movement
 A powerful tool for adapting production
systems to changes in the climate
 A means of sustainably optimising the
potential of the local environment
4. Re-orientation of climate
and development policy
To deliver a robust climate agreement in 2015
smallholder farmers, herders and fishers must be part
of the global food system. To achieve that we need:
1. Public funding and incentives for research into
agro-ecological farming
2. Investment that strengthens the agro-ecological
knowledge and capacity of smallholder farmers
3. Change in the enabling (market) environment so
that it penalises unsustainable practices
Thank you
Twitter: @Chris_P_Hen
For more information on Practical Action policy positions
at COP 20 check:
Agro-forestry in the
tropical zone of Peru
Gap filling, terracing,
Contoured earth bunds to improve rainwater
harvesting in North Darfur in Sudan