Published: 2011 – ILEIA,
Amersfoort, the Netherlands
Authors: Frank van Steenbergen
Small-scale farming continues to be the economic livelihood base for large numbers of people around the world. In developing countries, most people (2.5 billion) are involved in agriculture, and of these, 1 billion are small-scale farmers with access to two hectares or less of farmland. In spite of their small base, this form of farming is enormously dynamic.
Module 6 is dedicated to the economic aspects of small-scale farming – in particular to the influence of markets and finance. These provide good options for farming, but can also undermine the sustainability of this livelihood. As in the rest of the Learning AgriCultures series, this module follows a systems-oriented approach to its theme.
The first learning block focuses on how small-scale farming relates to the market and the different marketing strategies and financing options that small farmers use. In the second learning block, the wider context in which small-scale farmers operate is discussed: market chains, financial systems and the development and trends that are taking place that have a great effect on the sustainability of small-scale farmers’ livelihood base. The last learning block takes a look at different governance issues that encourage or undermine effective markets and financial systems to underpin the sustainability of small-scale farming.
Throughout the module, links are made to a variety of educational resources, including games and exercises, articles, videos, photos and ideas for field visits, in order to stimulate discussions and reflection on how market and finance issues relate to small-scale farming around the world.