Laura Tamayo
Communications, Sustainability and Public Affairs Lead
Bayer

Podcast

/
Expert Contributor

Smallholder Access to Advanced Technologies Benefits Everyone

By Laura Tamayo | Tue, 05/24/2022 - 09:00

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic and the social conflicts afflicting the world, farmers are also facing a major challenge from climate change globally: droughts, fires, floods, pests, desertification and dwindling water reserves, among others. In addition, food self-sufficiency is a pending need that only science and innovation can solve.

Data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) indicate that in 2050 there will be 10 billion people - in Mexico alone, almost 23 million additional people will be living there - and the demand for food will grow by 70 percent.

In the face of these challenges, small farmers emerge as key players in meeting the challenges of climate change and ensuring food security for a growing world population. FAO also indicates that in Latin America and the Caribbean alone, 80 percent of production belongs to family farming, which includes more than 60 million people, making it the main source of agricultural and rural employment.

It is important to learn from their diversified agricultural activities for the conservation of the environment and at the same time, help them to take advantage of the most modern practices, which will allow more equitable access to digital transformation and innovation. In this sense, it is transcendental to bring information, education and training to this sector through public policies, as well as private initiatives, strategies and programs.

Without the support of the latest technologies, innovative practices and capacity building, the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and those who depend on them will remain fragile. Instead, modernization will boost economic growth, not only for farmers and their families, but also for their communities and the world as a whole, as more productive fields produce more and better-quality food, generate more employment opportunities, and lay the foundation for rural communities to thrive.

For farmers to improve production, they need to have better access to:

  • Training: Most smallholders in developing countries practice their activity as they have learned it from parents and grandparents. However, agriculture has advanced and the latest methods of crop protection and management, irrigation and soil fertilization have enabled them to develop more productive fields. In turn, these farmers can share this strategic information with others in their local community.
  • Resources: They also need access to essential resources in the fields. These include better seeds, more effective crop protection solutions and fertilizers, modern farm machinery, irrigation systems and improved crop storage.
  • Physical and digital markets: This includes access to transparent prices and certifications, as well as avenues for collaboration with food chain partners.

To achieve a world without hunger and to contribute to feeding the population, it is necessary to provide access to innovative, customized solutions and best practices to expand the productivity of the fields, using modern techniques.

We all face the food challenge, not only farmers, and it is therefore necessary to provide them with tools and solutions to help them face the great paradox of how to produce more with fewer natural resources. Improving their conditions is imperative and, in this scenario, we must encourage the participation of the public and private sectors to work together, join forces and provide more equitable support to ensure access to information, education and technology to address the challenges of climate change that are occurring in the world.

Photo by:   Laura Tamayo