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Service Delivery: How to design an effective service sector to drive sustainability in smallholder dominated sectors

Many agricultural sectors are dominated by large numbers of small-scale farmers. Small farmers in developing countries typically have very low incomes, cannot invest in their farms and have no access to quality extension services, inputs or finance to increase their productivity and crop quality. As a result, farm productivity and crop quality are low and market access is limited. Sustainability performance also tends to be low on these farms.

Achieving sector-wide sustainability requires investments in technical assistance, inputs and finance –what we refer to as service delivery – that support farm and sector quality. Farm quality means that: farmers, and their workers, earn a decent living; are adaptive, resilient and innovative; produce at optimum productivity and product quality levels; and that farming has a positive social and environmental impact.

This paper explores what effective service delivery looks like; discusses the common approaches to service delivery and their effectiveness; discusses the tools that can be used when designing service delivery to promote farm quality; and proposes possible options for sustainable financing of service delivery in sectors dominated by unorganised small-scale farmers.

Publication information

  • IIED code: 16585IIED
  • Published: Apr 2015 - Aidenvironment, NewForesight, IIED
  • Theme: Sustainable markets
  • ISBN: 978-1-78431-161-2
  • Language: English

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Blackmore, E., Vorley, B., Molenaar, J.W., Gorter, J., Heilbron, L., Simons, L., Dallinger, J. 2015. Service Delivery: How to design an effective service sector to drive sustainability in smallholder dominated sectors. White Paper 3. Commissioned by IFC.

Project information

There is an increasing number of voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) in the market. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) tasked IIED, NewForesight and Aidenvironment to explore how VSS could be scaled up to improve agricultural sustainability in developing countries. The research produced a model for sector transformation.

More at www.iied.org:
Scaling up sustainability in smallholder-dominated agricultural sectors