Many are extremely poor and as many as half the people suffering from hunger today are small scale farmers. If we are to eradicate hunger, this is where we must direct our efforts. This is why the Development Fund focuses on small scale farmers. We work for and together with the farmers in order that the poorest of the poor may increase their food production and become self-reliant, and to develop and further improve plants so that the farmers themselves can lead the way in developing quality produce.
Increasing women’s participation is the surest way to reduce the number of people suffering from hunger and malnourishment. Outdated social structures that limit women’s access to owning land give them fewer opportunities to finance investments. This in turn limits their access to capital and modern technology. The act of ensuring women’s equal access alone - to land, livestock, education, technology and financial aid - may result in a considerable increase in foodproduction throughout the world.
This kind of development directly benefits the poor: according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), this will eliminate hunger for between 100 and 150 million people. The Development Fund works in cooperation with other organizations and governments to remove discriminating laws and promote equal access to resources and opportunities. Establishing gender equality in the agricultural sector is vital to securing sustainable development, food security and to eradicating hunger.
We believe that one of the most effective methods of supporting the small scale farmers’ fight for a better life lies in enhancing their own capability to ensure that their demands are met. Contributing towards organizing farmers and vulnerable groups is therefore an important part of the Development Fund’s programs. It is not enough to simply increase food production.
Establishing cooperatives is an important element in securing small scale farmers access to local and national markets. One example is the establishment of FECODESA (Federación de Cooperativas para el Desarollo) in Nicaragua in 2007, together with our partner organization CIPRES. Farmers that are organized in cooperatives gain better access to local and national markets, up to date information about prices for their products, economic support enabling travel to markets on market days, better access to credit and training in agricultural techniques. So far FECODESA has almost 5000 members at the grass root level, the success of which is a source of pride.