A man throws a handful of seeds up in the air. He is standing in front of a field of tall, brown stalks. There is the outline of a city on the horizon.
Annual Swiss Development Cooperation Conference 2018 © Jason Larkin, Panos; Andres de Wet / montage: FDFA

Two and a half billion smallholder farmers cultivate 60% of the world’s farmland. At the same time, towns and cities generate 70% of global economic output.

Switzerland’s development cooperation supports both rural and urban areas. For people living in the countryside, this is mainly about higher returns from their products. In the towns, the focus is on private sector development and advising authorities.

Farmers in Chad achieve better yields thanks to improved seed

In Chad, most people work in arable farming and livestock breeding, which is their main source of income. The country’s most important agricultural output is cereal. As in other African countries, one of the biggest problems facing Chad is poor quality seed. Switzerland helps farmers obtain high-grade seed that can also better withstand the effects of climate change. And this can also improve yields by up to 20%.

Economic growth for all thanks to sustainable urban development in South Africa

Towns and cities can offer tangible opportunities to alleviate poverty but rapid population growth is a major challenge. A country’s economy and its population both need water, electricity and other services. The goal is to achieve growth that is inclusive of all population groups. Switzerland’s cooperation activities in South Africa are an example of its comprehensive approach to urban development, supporting forward-looking and strategic urban planning particularly in terms of infrastructure and public funds.