Three out of four people who make less than $1.25/day live where farming is the livelihood. In these locations, overcoming poverty is inseparably linked to agriculture. Smallholder families can improve their incomes by selling their produce in competitive markets. Comprehensive market development approaches, including creating public-private partnerships (PPPs), are making this possible.

In the agriculture sector, one PPP model guarantees that farmers receive a minimum price from a buyer who expects a specific quality and quantity of produce at harvest. In some cases, these buyers also supply improved products such as fertilizer and seed. Recently, IFDC fostered such a partnership in Rwanda, linking cassava farmers with buyers. This partnership provides farmers with new market opportunities that potentially raise farm incomes.

Partnerships are essential for building strong local economies. According to Calestous Juma, an expert in international development, “[The contributions of international organizations] will be more effective where there is local capacity to undertake sovereign duties such as…ensuring food security.” Increasing farmers’ ability to grow and sell surplus food in competitive markets will drive economic development.

Innovative approaches generating profits are at the heart of efforts to feed the world. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute, “Investment in agriculture is 2.5 to 3.0 times more effective in increasing the income of the poor than is nonagricultural investment.” Increasing agricultural growth and farm incomes is the surest of ways to empower farming families to escape poverty and live fulfilled lives.

Read more about these and other approaches at And join the discussion by following us on Twitter @IFDCNews.

Up next week on IFDC Perspectives: Engaging Youth in Innovation.

Areas of Expertise: