15. November 2023

Navigating the Complex Path to Farmer Prosperity: Insights from the IDH Market Transformation Summit

Mark Birch, Program Director-Sustainable Procurement IDH

In the face of escalating challenges posed by climate change, inflation, and inequality, the imperative to uplift farmer income has never been more urgent. This pressing issue took center stage at the recent IDH Market Transformation Summit in Geneva, where Jordy van Honk eloquently outlined the stark reality of the situation.

The audience, from private and public sector and civil society engaged in a thought-provoking dialogue of additional actions needed to address poverty in farming communities. From the need for more provocation to the importance of effective local policies, good procurement practices, and concrete actions on commitments, the discussions delved into the multifaceted nature of the challenge. Legislation, mechanisms for value transfer to smallholders, bottom-up approaches, accountability measures, and advocating for more processing closer to farms were among the many topics raised.

Crucially, the call for collaboration over competition emerged as a recurring theme. The consensus was clear: addressing the intricate web of issues requires a unified effort. And more action from the private sector, particularly on improved procurement practices was identified as a crucial factor, emphasizing the need for more private sector investment, better tools and evidence on effective strategies.

What stood out was the acknowledgment that more evidence-based discussions and collaborative initiatives are critical in navigating this complex landscape. The summit provided a platform for deepening our understanding of the challenges at hand and fostering partnerships to drive tangible change.

The summit facilitated a rich dialogue on how to advance these ideas in a coordinated manner, drawing on the collective wisdom of participants. The opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and friends added a personal touch to the shared commitment towards a common goal.

As we reflect on the discussions and insights from the IDH Market Transformation Summit, considerable thanks goes to all the participants and the partners who helped to plan and lead the various conversations. The real work lies ahead, and the shared enthusiasm for the journey towards sustainable farmer income is palpable. The road ahead is challenging but it's a journey that we can embark on collectively. Here's how we can contribute:


Advocate for Local Policies: Engage with local policymakers to advocate for effective policies that support sustainable farming practices and ensure better compensation for farmers.

Implement Good Procurement Practices: If you are part of a supply chain, champion and adopt procurement practices that prioritize farmer income and worker wages as critical elements of sustainable sourcing.

Foster Collaboration: Prioritize collaboration over competition. Seek out partnerships and synergies within the Living Income Community of Practice and beyond to amplify collective impact


Here's to the work ahead and the positive impact we can create by working together towards a more equitable and sustainable future for farmers and workers worldwide!