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TitleInvesting in smallholder agriculture for food security. HLPE Report 6
LanguageEnglish
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Table of Contents
                            Cover
©
Table of Contents
FOREWORD
SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
	Main observations
	Recommendations
INTRODUCTION
1 SMALLHOLDER AGRICULTURE AND INVESTMENTS
	1.1  What is smallholder agriculture?
	1.2  Investments
	1.3  Constraints on investing in smallholder agriculture
2  WHY INVEST IN SMALLHOLDER AGRICULTURE?
	2.1  The roles of smallholder agriculture in achieving food security 
and sustainable development
	2.2  Structural transformations and smallholder agriculture
3  WHAT TYPES OF INVESTMENTS?
	3.1  On-farm investments by smallholders in productive assets
	3.2  Collective investments to overcome limited assets
	3.3  Investing in enabling markets
	3.4  Investing in enabling institutions
4  SMALLHOLDER AGRICULTURE: A STRATEGIC 
APPROACH FOR INVESTMENTS
	4.1  A National Smallholder Investment Strategy based on a vision 
for smallholder agriculture
	4.2  Elements of a renewed policy agenda
REFERENCES
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
EDITORIAL NOTE
APPENDICES
	A1  List of 81 countries used in the calculations for figures in 
Chapter 1
	A2  Abbreviations for countries used in Figure 8
	A3  Examples of policy instruments available to address the different elements that influence  
food security at household level
	A4  The HLPE project cycle
Back cover
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 1

Investing in smallholder agriculture

for food security

A report by

The High Level Panel of Experts

on Food Security and Nutrition

June 2013

6HLPE R E POR T

Page 2

2




HLPE Steering Committee members (June 2013)
MS Swaminathan (Chair)

Maryam Rahmanian (Vice-Chair)

Catherine Bertini

Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher

Lawrence Haddad

Martin S. Kumar

Sheryl Lee Hendriks

Alain de Janvry

Renato Maluf

Mona Mehrez Aly

Carlos Perez del Castillo

Rudy Rabbinge

Huajun Tang

Igor Tikhonovich

Niracha Wongchinda





HLPE Project Team members
Pierre-Marie Bosc (Team Leader)

Julio Berdegué

Mamadou Goïta

Jan Douwe van der Ploeg

Kae Sekine

Linxiu Zhang




Coordinator of the HLPE
Vincent Gitz











This report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) has been
approved by the HLPE Steering Committee.

The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Committee on World Food
Security, of its members, participants, or of the Secretariat.

This report is made publicly available and its reproduction and dissemination is encouraged. Non-
commercial uses will be authorised free of charge, upon request. Reproduction for resale or other
commercial purposes, including educational purposes, may incur fees. Applications for permission to
reproduce or disseminate this report should be addressed by e-mail to [email protected] with copy to
[email protected]





Referencing this report:

HLPE. 2013. Investing in smallholder agriculture for food security. A report by the High Level Panel of
Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security, Rome.


mailto:[email protected]
mailto:[email protected]

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Figure 8 Structural transformation across countries at a certain period, and past
trajectories for some specific countries







Top: The horizontal axis measures the logarithm of GDP per capita. The vertical axis shows the share of agriculture
in total labour (white squares) and the share of agriculture in GDP (black dots) for developing countries, in country
average for the period 1990-2005. The structural transformation shows the strong cross-country regularity of
declining shares of labour in agriculture, and of agriculture in GDP, as GDP per capita rises. Abbreviations of
countries can be found in Appendix 2.

Bottom: Trajectories of specific countries in terms of share of agriculture in total labour (vertical axis) and logarithm
of GDP per capita (horizontal axis), between 1960 and 2005. The diagonal curve is the cross-country pattern
(average 1990-2005). China is retaining more labour in agriculture (flatter trajectory) than the pattern while Nigeria is
releasing more labor from agriculture than the pattern. Shaded dots are the 1990-2005 average.

Source: adapted from de Janvry and Sadoulet (2010).

China

Malaysia

Nigeria

India

Uganda

ARG MEX

ARG

MEX MYS

MYS

BRA

BRA

TUR

TUR

EGY

EGY

PHL

PHL

AZE

AZE

NGA
NGA

IND

IND

GHA

GHA
UGA

UGA

CHN

CHN

ETH

ETH

Share of agriculture in total labour

Share of agriculture

in GDP

Log of GDP per capita

Log of GDP per capita

Share of agriculture in total labour

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57


There is a strong and persistent representation in development thinking
30

that this is a “universal”
pathway for agricultural development. But at least two observations contradict this perspective:

First, some key countries strongly differ in their development trajectory from the “classical pathway”
(see Figure 8). Does it mean that they are underperforming? Or just that they are following a more
adequate trajectory to their particular circumstances with respect to food security and sustainable
economic development, for example by maintaining a substantial share of employment in agriculture
(especially in China with restrictions to urban migration and to a lesser extent in India)?

Second, the underlying technical and agronomic model to the classical transformation pathway, which
inspired the Green Revolution in Asia and to a lesser extent in Latin America, is now being
questioned. This questioning is due to its excessive reliance on industrial inputs and its negative
environmental externalities and social consequences. It has been reinforced by the rise in the cost of
inputs, particularly those that are very energy-intensive such as fertilizers.

Therefore, the drivers of the structural transformation have to be more carefully scrutinized. Specific
national conditions prevail such as the demographic dynamics, the level and growth rate of GDP per
capita, the relative importance and dynamics of agriculture in the economy, the structure of the sector,
etc. These different socio-political contexts can lead to very different paths of transformation for
agriculture and smallholders.

There are different and sometimes strongly contrasted trajectories (not to be confounded with
different stages of development) for the role of smallholder farmers in development.

Schematically, these trajectories range from :

(i) the managed and gradual differentiation and decline of a smallholder sector, and the
emergence of a highly modern medium farm sector (as in Chile),

(ii) an explicitly managed dualism trying to promote functional complementarities between large
and small farms (Brazil, Mexico),

(iii) a long-term peasant-based agriculture as in the crowded countries of Asia and Eastern
Central Africa (China, Viet Nam, India, Malawi, Uganda), at least for a long time until urban
economic growth creates sufficient employment opportunities and farm consolidation can be
pursued. Over the last two decades,

(iv) a fourth trajectory has been emerging in which the delivery of so-called green and blue
services (maintenance of landscapes and natural assets, conservation of biodiversity, water
retention, energy production, mitigation of global warming, etc.) plays an important role
alongside the production of high-quality and local-specific foods. In this emerging trajectory,
which is prominent in Europe and also in Canada and in particular locations of Latin America
and Asia, smallholders are often the main actors.

(v) Finally, there are processes of de-activation where smallholder agriculture is increasingly
being pushed to the margins, thus losing its ability to invest.

These different trajectories might exist alongside each other. Parts of Africa are very much into (iii),
with others in (i) and (ii). Some of Latin America are between (ii) and (i), but most are grappling with
consolidating (ii). But it is also possible that widespread economic and financial crises or political
unrest (Zimbabwe) will induce changes towards (iii): the urban unemployed will seek refuge, and build
new livelihoods in rural areas (as occurs in most parts of Eastern Europe but also in the Western part
of Europe, and Latin America).

The situations and trajectories observed are the result of past choices made under a wide range of
determinants at the macro- and micro-levels, including demographic patterns, economic transitions,
and policy choices. Future trajectories cannot be expected to be mere extrapolations of the past.
There is a need to look at how the macro and micro trends, today, frame the options for investments
for the future.


30

We do not mean these works promote a normative thinking, but the use of these works taken as the “norm” can be
misleading.

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111


Figure 13 HLPE project cycle






CFS Committee on World Food Security
HLPE High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition
StC HLPE Steering Committee
PT HLPE Project Team


Source: HLPE, 2012.



CFS defines HLPE mandate at plenary level

StC defines the project’s oversight modalities, and

proposes scope for the study

Draft scope of the study is submitted
to open electronic consultation

StC appoints a Project Team, and finalizes
its Terms of References

PT produces a version 0 of the report (V0)

V0 is publicly released to open electronic consultation

PT finalizes a version 1 of the report (V1)

HLPE submits V1 to external reviewers,
for academic and evidence-based review

PT prepares a pre-final version of the report (V2)

V2 is formally submitted to the StC for approval

Final approved version is transmitted to the CFS
and publicly released

The HLPE report is presented for
discussion and policy debate at CFS

CFS


CFS


CFS


StC

StC

StC


PT

PT


PT

Page 112

Cover photo: ©FAO/Thomas Hug

Secretariat HLPE c/o FAO
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00153 Rome, Italy

Website: www.fao.org/cfs/cfs-hlpe
E-mail: [email protected]

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