top of page


It is important to recognise that there is no silver bullet for driving improvements for smallholder incomes and neither is any individual actor solely responsible for taking actions for change. Despite this a variety of levers and methods exist for improving incomes, appropriate for different actors, that can be applied holistically and can be implemented in various combinations dependent on the context.

A recent study by the Sustainable Food Lab and Business fights poverty took input from, and conducted interviews with, experts from business, NGOs, donors, UN bodies and research organisations to clarify roles and levers for different actors to help increase smallholder incomes. Providing a number of case studies and examples the paper disseminates 5 key levers of which different types of actors have different roles in addressing and a strong emphasis is put on collaboration and links to the SDG'sThese 5 levers are:

1) Agricultural Services - This relates to improvements to smallholder know-how, farm inputs (e.g. seeds, fertiliser, tools), warehouses, drying sheds, and post harvest machinery. Links to SDGs: 2, 12, 13


2) Provision of Financial Services - This includes improving affordability and access to credit, loans, savings and insurance. Links to SDGs: 1,8,9,10

3) Decent market access - This relates to stablising demand, payment of fair prices and favourable terms of trade. Links to SDGs: 2, 8, 12

4) Gender equality - This relates to women’s participation in smallholder farming and equal economic empowerment. This is a cross cutting theme which is applicable to all the above levers. Links to SDG 5, 10

5) Provision of basic services - This relates to services which aren't always directly linked to farming including the availability and accessibility of quality education, health and water. Links to SDG 6

For each of these overarching levers there are a wide variety of interventions specific to different types of actor (namely national government, international donors and UN agencies, civil society, financial institutions, private sector actors and industry bodies/multi-stakeholder platforms). Many of these 'sub-levers' are in fact cross cutting and for each overarching lever the most significant interventions for driving change are highlighted. Click here to find out more...

Click this image to access and read the full paper.

bottom of page