Investing in Smallholder Farmers to Feed the Future

Tim Fella, Senior Land Tenure and Conflict Advisor for USAID’s Land Tenure and Resource Management Office wrote an article that was featured in Devex’s Newswire newsletter last week. An excerpt appears below.

As the International Year of Family Farming winds down, a new set of United Nations principles recognizes that in order to promote global food security, we need to acknowledge and promote family farmers as key investors in agriculture and food systems.

The U.N. Committee on World Food Security is meeting in Rome this week to endorse the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems that pave the way for much-needed agricultural investments that will help feed the world’s expanding population, projected to be approximately 9 billion by 2050. The principles, together with the internationally recognized guidelines for land tenure, paint a picture of how we, as development practitioners, can encourage governments, civil society and the private sector — including family farmers — to collaborate to overcome persistent barriers to food security and poverty alleviation.

Family farmers are often underserved investors. Just like other commercial entities, they need the right policies, laws and processes in place to encourage and expand their investments in food production. Importantly, the new set of principles addresses this need by encouraging governments to create an enabling environment that fosters responsible investment and protects the legitimate land rights of one of the most vulnerable groups of family farmers: smallholder farmers.

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