This blog was written by Bill Gates for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and is posted here with their permission.
On May 24, I’ll be giving a speech in Washington, D.C . to draw attention to farming families in the developing world and the important role they play in cutting hunger and poverty. I need your help in making the case about why small farmers are so important – in fact, I want you to share your best ideas and help spread the word.
Why farming? Many people don’t realize it, but most of the world’s poorest people are small farmers. They get their food and income farming small plots of land. These farming families often don’t have good seeds, equipment, reliable markets, or money to invest that helps them get the most out of their land. So they work hard, but they get no traction, and more often than not, they stay hungry and poor.
We know that smart investments in farming families help them become self-sufficient. We know that increasing productivity while preserving the environment leads to higher incomes and better lives over the long-term. But governments are not living up to their pledges to provide this kind of support to small farmers.
Solving hunger and poverty is both an urgent problem and long-term challenge. But what gives me hope is that we know that investments are working.
Our foundation has invested $1.7 billion to date to help small farmers in Africa and South Asia. We have seen great progress in the work of our grantees and other organizations. I’ll be sharing some of that progress in my speech later this month.
Please join me. Tell the world why we should listen to small farmers and do everything we can to meet their needs. Go to our challenge page to send us your best ideas.
At the end of the challenge, I’ll highlight a few of the best entries.
For more information on how you can get involved in the challenge:
Investing in small farmers means contributing to sustainable livelihoods. It is important to have enough knowledge on the assets and activities of these small farmers and work together with them to build their capital and enhance the activitiea(livelihood strategies in place. I am finalising a PhD proposal on the assets, livelihood strategies and the wellbeing of people in Densely Populated areas of eastearn Arch Mountains in Tanzania. I will be glad to share the findings in this group.
Thank you for your thoughtful comment and I think we are aligned in our approach to developing sustainable livelihoods. We too work with farmers based upon their assets (land) and livelihood activities (agriculture). Our understanding is that if a farmer has secure rights to the land they till, they can invest in that asset to improve their agricultural activities and have more ownership. Although we focus on rural populations, we would be very interested in reading your findings on assets and livelihoods in Tanzania.