Production, advisory services and marketing

Two men working in a field, a third stands at the edge of the field with a notebook in his hand, watching.
The SDC promotes smallholder and family farms and as part of its work is committed to ensuring they have access to advice and innovative practices. © SDC

According to United Nations forecasts, the world's population will be around 9 billion by 2050. Managing natural resources responsibly while increasing food production is therefore a top priority. The SDC is already active in supporting sustainable agriculture, smallholder farms and research, with a particular emphasis on women and young people.

The SDC's focus

The SDC sees the potential in smallholder and family farms to reduce hunger and malnutrition. Thus the SDC promotes improved access for smallholder farmers to productive resources, facilitates advice tailored to their needs and assists them with marketing.

The SDC particularly endeavours to promote women as producers and market participants. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), women perform a substantial proportion of agricultural work – around 50% in Africa and Asia. However, they often do not have adequate access to land and productive resources, so their crop yields are around 20–30% lower than men's. According to the FAO, empowering women could reduce hunger in developing countries by as much as 17%. To make use of this untapped potential and facilitate market access for women and young people, the SDC supports services targeted specifically at female smallholder farmers and the transfer of knowledge on production enhancement techniques.

The SDC also recognises the importance of good education and training for young farmers of both genders, and supports education and training programmes to this end.

Research, innovation and advisory services

Innovation in agriculture and advisory services geared to the needs of smallholder farmers are key to eradicating poverty and hunger. The SDC is committed to this approach. Areas targeted for innovation and advisory services include plant cultivation, animal husbandry, markets, financing and partnerships with the private sector.

Representing the concerns of smallholder farmers in policy dialogue

The SDC is involved in forging an international framework that supports smallholder agriculture, in order to improve access to productive resources such as capital, seeds, land and water for smallholder farmers worldwide. Among other things, it participates in the development of seed regulations and international trade provisions. The SDC also works to strengthen farmer organisations so that they can offer their members better services and represent their concerns more effectively at a political level.

Agroecology for sustainable production

To boost production while also promoting the responsible use of natural resources on smallholder farms, the SDC supports forms of agriculture that adhere to the FAO's Elements of Agroecology. This entails conserving natural resources with virtually no need for external inputs such as pesticides and fertilisers. Compost, for instance, reuses nutrients and biomass, and maintains soil fertility. A good mix of arable and livestock production not only preserves biodiversity but also provides the variety of food necessary for a healthy diet. In Africa, for example, the SDC supports the African Union's initiative to mainstream ecological agriculture into national production systems by 2025.

Improvements along the entire value chain

The SDC works with farmers, advisers, the private sector and policymakers to establish business models that benefit the poorest and ease the participation for smallholder farmers in the market. The main objective is to increase productivity sustainably and ensure equal participation in agricultural value chains by means of better marketing opportunities. A primary focus for the SDC is reducing harvest and post-harvest losses along production, distribution and consumption channels. This means raising awareness that food systems extend from agricultural production through to consumption, via storage, distribution and marketing. This is to be considered as a basis for sustainable forms of agriculture. Through such cooperation, the SDC also promotes access to affordable and healthy agricultural produce for all.

Background

By 2050, there will be about 9 billion people in the world. At the same time, arable land, grazing areas and water resources are becoming scarcer. Agricultural systems capable of supplying the world's population with adequate quantities of nutritious food are needed.

While in Europe food losses occur mostly at the end of the food chain, for example in supermarkets, restaurants or consumer households, in developing countries it happens at earlier stages. The reasons for this are inadequate harvesting, processing and storage methods, as well as a lack of market access. The FAO's 2011 study Global Food Losses and Food Waste found that countries in sub-Saharan Africa were losing up to 170kg of food per person per year due to these aspects. Since then, that has not substantially changed.

According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), there are approximately 500 million smallholder farmers worldwide, with smallholder agriculture being the livelihood of more than 2 billion people. These family farms produce around half of the world's food and over 70% of the food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Climate change, natural disasters and economic changes are impeding the work of smallholder farmers. Smallholders are forced to adapt their production methods to changing and unpredictable conditions. They are thus reliant on research and advisory services. In the SDC's view, such services are successful if they take into account traditional and local know-how. The Swiss agricultural sector is a role model here, with its multifunctional, family-based and environmentally-friendly food production geared to social and regional balance.

Focus on smallholder farms

In three short films, learn how smallholders and family farms cope with challenges such as rising food prices and the effects of climate change.

'Can we feed the world?'

Over the next 30 years, the world's population is set to increase from 7 to around 9 billion people. More than 820 million people go hungry today. Three quarters of them live in rural areas and largely depend on farming for their livelihood. At the same time, food prices are rising, which has a particularly negative impact on people living in poverty in food-importing countries. Global changes in food production and distribution are necessary.

Film: 'Can we feed the world?'

 

'Today's reality of smallholder farms'

Through the story of the Traoré family in West Africa, the film provides an insight into the life of smallholder farmers in developing countries. The film shows how poorly functioning markets, insufficient opportunities for education, training and information, the effects of climate change, and poor access to land and water prevent family farms from realising their full potential.

Film: 'Today's reality of smallholder farms'

 

'Realising the potential of smallholder farming'

For smallholder farmers to be able to make a substantive contribution to food security, they must be able to expand their production beyond their own needs to meet market demand. The film recounts the SDC's efforts on behalf of smallholder farmers with regard to land rights, information and rural development.

Film: 'Realising the potential of smallholder farming'

Documents

Current projects

Object 49 – 60 of 1095

The members of municipal councils working for democracy

Women and men assembled in a community hall.

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2020

With the ‘Empowering Municipal Councils’ project, Switzerland’s international cooperation is helping municipal councils in North Macedonia to become effective local authorities whose community policies take into account the interests of ordinary citizens.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Macedonia
Governance
Decentralisation

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2020


CHF 4'000'000



New approach in Bosnia and Herzegovina for democratisation

A man standing in front of a blue gate valve connected to a large blue pipe.

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2020

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s water and sanitation infrastructure is outdated and a large segment of the population has no access to a water supply. The starting point for the SDC’s project is good governance – the authorities must be transparent about building and renovation decisions, and ensure an inclusive political process for the citizens their decisions affect.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Governance
Public sector policy
Decentralisation
Democratic participation and civil society

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2020


CHF 12'000'000



AfDB/AfDF: African Development Bank / African Development Fund – Core Contribution

01.05.2014 - 31.12.2023

The mandate of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Development Fund (AfDF) is to promote sustainable economic and social development in Africa by providing support for good governance and private sector development, infrastructure, higher education and vocational training. Switzerland has been supporting the AfDF since its foundation in 1972 and has been a member since 1982.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Africa
Other
Sector not specified

01.05.2014 - 31.12.2023


CHF 207'759'519



Programme d’Appui à la Formation Professionnelle

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2019

Le marché du travail au Mali est caractérisé par une main d’œuvre peu qualifiée. Dans ce contexte, 300'000 jeunes arrivent chaque année sur ce marché sans compétences. L’offre de formation par domaine et/ou filière est en deçà des attentes du secteur productif. La formation professionnelle e 40'000 personnes dont 50% de femmes à l’horizon 2017, améliore la qualité des ouvrages et augmente la compétitivité des entreprises en contribuant à l’augmentation des revenus dans les régions prioritaires de la DDC et de la coopération danoise.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Mali
Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Agriculture & food security
Education
Vocational training
Employment creation
Advanced professional training
Agriculture value-chain development (til 2016)
Education facilities and training

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2019


CHF 16'957'000



Programme for Supporting Decentralised Management of Literacy in Benin (PAGEDA)

An adult literacy centre in a Fulani camp in the village of Goure Bene, municipality of Nikki, Borgou, 2014

01.01.2014 - 30.09.2020

The programme for supporting the decentralised management of literacy services in Benin (PAGEDA) aims to provide high-quality literacy programmes that will enable 30,000 people (50-50 gender split, with most aged 15-30), who are excluded from or have no access to the formal education system, to acquire life skills and fully exercise their rights. The programme also aims to address gender, age and regional disparities in relation to access to education.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Benin
Education
Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Basic life skills
Vocational training
Employment creation

01.01.2014 - 30.09.2020


CHF 6'320'000



Improving access to good-quality healthcare services in Kosovo

A nurse giving a prescription to a patient in a primary healthcare centre.

01.11.2013 - 31.12.2019

The standard of healthcare provision in Kosovo is inadequate and does not meet the needs of the general population. Vulnerable groups are particularly affected, with a number of economic and social barriers limiting their access to care. That is why the SDC is working to improve the quality and inclusivity of the primary healthcare system in Kosovo.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Kosovo
Health
Health systems strengthening

01.11.2013 - 31.12.2019


CHF 7'190'000



Increasing the Quality of Health Services for All

15.10.2013 - 30.04.2020


Albania has the lowest public health spending in the region. Many patients bypass primary health care and overcrowd hospitals, especially in larger cities. In addition, non-communicable diseases are increasing at an alarming rate. Therefore health promotion, prevention of diseases and improved primary health care services are a top priority for the country.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Albania
Health
Health systems strengthening
Medical services
Primary health care

15.10.2013 - 30.04.2020


CHF 10'000'000



oPt, Enhancing Social Engagement and Accountability through Culture and the Arts

Qattana local community members are beautifying their village through repairing and painting the walls

01.09.2013 - 31.12.2019

The aim of this intervention is to enhance social engagement and participation, to promote the role of people as agents of change and to strengthen social accountability in the oPt. SDC will support initiatives that use arts and culture as a means to enhance democratic debates, promote social inclusion and active participation within the communities and between the communities and the local authorities. The initiatives will favour the participation of youth and women in local public debates.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Palestinian Authority
Human rights
Conflict & fragility
Culture & recreation
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Conflict prevention

01.09.2013 - 31.12.2019


CHF 901'868



AsDB/AsDF: Asian Development Bank / Asian Development Fund – Core Contribution

01.01.2013 - 31.12.2021

The Asian Development Fund (AsDF) managed by the Asian Development Bank (AsDB) grants loans to its poorer member countries in the Asia-Pacific region to help them reduce poverty and improve people’s quality of life. This should be achieved through inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Asia
Other
Sector not specified

01.01.2013 - 31.12.2021


CHF 48'000'000



Rural Water Supply and Sanitation in the Ferghana Valley

boys washing their hands

01.01.2013 - 31.12.2019

Rural areas in Uzbekistan lack an adequate supply of clean water.  A large proportion of Uzbekistan's rural population of 10 million people suffer from diseases caused by unclean water. A project funded by the SDC is helping people in rural areas help themselves. Villagers are learning how to organise their water supply themselves.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Uzbekistan
Water
Drinking water and basic sanitation (WASH) (til 2016)
Water sector policy

01.01.2013 - 31.12.2019


CHF 6'157'000



Plannes Project: Promotion de la coopération transfrontalière locale

01.01.2013 - 31.12.2020

Jusqu’ici, l’UEMOA[1] a abordé l’intégration régionale par le haut, à travers les Etats. Les collectivités territoriales ne sont directement éligibles ni à ses allocations budgétaires[2], ni à ses programmes sectoriels. Le Conseil des Collectivités Territoriales (CCT) veut changer cette situation en initiant le PCTL qui donne aux élus locaux les ressources pour réaliser des projets transfrontaliers améliorant l’accès des populations aux services publics de base.  Il replace la décentralisation au cœur de l’intégration régionale et du développement socioéconomique.

[1] Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest-Africaine créée en 1994 et regroupant huit pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest.

[2] De 1996 à 2006, l’UEMOA a alloué aux pays CHF 270'000'000 au titre de compensations financières liées à l’intégration. Ces ressources sont destinées exclusivement aux Gouvernements.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
West Africa
Governance
Other
Decentralisation
Sector not specified
Public sector policy

01.01.2013 - 31.12.2020


CHF 8'187'500



Better quality of life for Roma communities in Bulgaria

Two girls dancing.

01.01.2013 - 30.11.2019

The Roma are the largest ethnic minority in Bulgaria. Many Roma suffer from social exclusion, discrimination, poverty and unemployment. Social, cultural and economic barriers hinder access to education and healthcare for members of the Roma community. With its contribution to the enlarged EU, Switzerland is supporting projects to improve the living conditions of the Roma in Bulgaria.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bulgaria
Improving social security
Prevention
Various social services

01.01.2013 - 30.11.2019


CHF 6'695'773


Object 49 – 60 of 1095