Pay Small-scale Farmers Decent Wages

By Irene Gaitirira
Published September 23, 2021

Though small-scale farmers in developing countries grow a third of our global food, they are paid a pittance for their work.

Terming it an outrage, United Nation’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has asked world leaders attending the UN Food Systems Summit in Rome, Italy, to improve wages for farmers.

“It is a terrible irony that those who grow our food cannot afford to feed their own families healthy, nutritious diets,” Gilbert F Houngbo, President of IFAD, says. “With no savings and no access to capital, farming families also have no cushion against climate change and other shocks. Today’s Food Systems Summit is our chance to commit to concrete changes. We mustn’t squander this opportunity.”

IFAD contends that the majority of people in developing countries earn their incomes from agriculture and that small-scale farmers working on farms smaller than two hectares produce more than 30 percent of global food, and up to 80 per cent in parts of Africa and Asia. Studies show that only 6.5 per cent of the supermarket price is paid to the farmer for a number of crops sourced from small-scale farms in developing countries.

IFAD’s Rural Development Report shows that the growing concentration of power within food systems have seen profits for large food companies escalate, while the people working to produce, process and distribute food are trapped in poverty and hunger. Inadequate incomes are a major reason why around 3 billion people in the world cannot afford healthy diets.