The Adoption of Quality Management

Research Needs and Outcomes
in Agro-enterprise Development
Peter J. Batt
The world’s population is rapidly approaching
7 billion
– population growing at 1.2% pa
– global agricultural production growing at 1.7% pa
– and yet 925 million people are malnourished
– why is that?
Malnourishment arises from
armed conflict
natural disasters
scarce resources
weak governance
breakdown of local institutions
unsustainable livelihood systems
increased price of food
Food prices are increasing
• increase in demand
– increase in population
– increase in per capita consumption
• reduced supply
– climatic disasters
– low levels of stocks
– competition for resources
• land/water
• biofuels
For those living in poverty
• food prices increased by a greater margin than the
overall rate of inflation
• the impact is potentially catastrophic
– poor spend 50-70% of their income on food
• as prices rise, households are forced to
– limit their food consumption
– shift to even poorer diets
– to spend less on other goods and services
For those living in poverty
• the increasing price of food has negative
consequences for nutrition and health
• over 75% of the world’s poor reside in rural areas
– 62% derive livelihood from agriculture
Gains in agricultural productivity are slowing
• complacency
• chronic underinvestment in key areas such as
new variety development
early generation seed multiplication
market infrastructure
market information systems
deterioration in public sector services
At the farm level, smallholder farmers have
• limited access to high quality seed, fertilizers and
• lack credit
• limited access to markets
• limited access to market information
• concentration and aggregation in the food output
To address the global food crisis
• higher prices ARE NECESSARY to stimulate
investments in improved productivity and increased
• an integrated approach is required to improve the
participation of smallholder farmers
– greater linkages to upstream and downstream sectors
– policy support to provide an enabling environment
To enhance smallholder production
• additional investments in agricultural productivity
of at least USD 7 billion per year are required to
achieve the Millennium Development Goals
new crop varieties
seeds and fertilizers
vaccines and veterinary equipment
superior animal feeds
To enhance smallholder production (contd)
• adopt more sustainable production practices
organic fertilizers
use mineral fertilizers as a supplement
integrated pest management
improved water efficiency
To enhance smallholder production (contd)
• technical assistance must be provided to ensure
that inputs are used to their best advantage
– collaborate with input suppliers, traders and even
consumer groups
To enhance smallholder production (contd)
• extension programs play a key role in information
sharing by
transferring technology
facilitating interaction
building capacity among farmers
empowering farmers
To enhance smallholder production (contd)
• smallholder farmers must have access to markets
• adequate investments in
rural roads
market infrastructure
market information
To enhance smallholder production (contd)
• market information is necessary
– helps farmers to make profitable decisions on what to
produce and when and where to market
– reduces transport costs
– enhances price transparency
– reduces marketing margins and price volatility
– increases farm gate prices
To enhance smallholder production (contd)
• rural credit is critical to
– enable farmers to increase their productivity
– invest in value-adding activities
• cash constraints prevent smallholder farmers from
intensifying their production systems
• families with more resources are
– better able to cope with risk and uncertainty
– experiment with new technologies
To enhance smallholder production (contd)
• public sector investments are required in
agricultural research and development
reduce post-harvest losses
• 30-40% of the food produced is wasted
• reducing food losses will cost less than boosting farm
• production increases can be achieved more rapidly
• no additional utilisation of natural resources
The policy challenge is to
• promote productivity growth particularly for
smallholder producers
• in a way that improves the resilience of the market
to external shocks
• that reduces waste
• increases the supply of food to local markets at
affordable prices

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