Theme 1 - Social and economic dimensions of smallholder based agriculture and food security

Last changed: 04 May 2020
Four people discussing outside a house, photo.

Raising smallholder productivity, combatting hunger and improving rural livelihoods require interventions to improve technology use, enhance women’s participation and stimulate inclusive and efficient markets. Capacity building and translating research into policy are the main objectives of this program.

Of the 600 million farms found in the world today, 85% are smaller than 2 ha. In terms of employment global agriculture is heavily concentrated in the smallholder sector, while the smallholder sector, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, is sadly coincident with rural poverty.

The overlap between rural poverty, food insecurity and smallholder farming points to the crucial role of the sector in alleviating hunger and malnutrition among the global poor. 

To enable context specific interventions, that take into consideration geographic differences in production systems, markets and demography, existing research are synthesized in four key areas:
  1. Gender segmented markets and production systems and how this segmentation relates to local and regional institutions as well as livelihood sources found outside agriculture
  2. How local and regional conditions for agriculture and food security vary, given geographical differences in production systems and value chains in relation to urbanization, infrastructure, mobility and macro-economic conditions
  3. Gender- and generational aspects of sustainable intensification and productivity increases related to input markets, commodity markets as well as institutions of relevance to technology transfer.
  4. The cultural and demographic conditions for agriculture and food security in the context of modernisation, generational shifts, shrinking farm sizes and changing patterns of migration in which young people, and young women especially, increasingly aspire to leave agriculture. 

Synthesis of existing research will be achieved through knowledge exchange between Swedish researchers and researchers in partner organisations in the global South. As capacity building and translating research into policy are the main objectives of this programme, courses and workshops will be offered for young researchers on communicating research findings effectively to policymakers and other stakeholders.

Outputs from Theme 1

Networking for enhanced agricultural development and food security

A new network run by AgriFoSe2030 and International livestock research institute, ILRI, aims to develop a pool of policy analysts to sustainably support the development, implementation and evaluation of polices for enhanced agricultural transformation and food security in Kenya. Read more about the network here.

In this network, AgriFoSe2030 and ILRI have produced these briefs:


Theme 1 has six focus countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, we collaborate with partner institutions in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda. In Asia, our activities focus on Bangladesh and Vietnam.

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