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Global Communities’ Approach to Agricultural Development

Published 10/05/2015 by Global Communities

Global Communities’ Approach to Agricultural Development
Global Communities’ Agriculture Development Sector strengthens the capacity of farmers and farmer groups, rural and urban poor, the food-insecure, and populations affected by conflict and natural disasters, enabling them to effectively pursue agricultural livelihoods and participate fully in market-based activities. We are sensitive to assisting women and the challenges they encounter.
We help smallholder farmers to first increase crop and animal production. In doing so, a surplus can be achieved. A surplus gives farmers a fighting chance to rise above mere subsistence. Smallholders are instructed in value-addition options, such as solar-drying of produce and milling of cereals into flour, so that these can be applied to surpluses to improve household incomes as well as to strengthen food security and foster resilience to shocks.
To assist with better access to markets, Global Communities employs an inclusive approach to help farmers with improvements in production, quality, standardization and relationships with value chain actors. Called our “Market Systems Approach,” we begin with a comprehensive assessment and work from there, building local capacity and identifying farmer leaders and agribusinesses. Services that we can provide include scaling-up agriculture operations; linking farmers to buyers and traders; improving access to market information; and facilitating horizontal partnerships with business development services, among others.
Improving access to financial products and services is extremely important for success in agriculture. Global Communities therefore facilitates the organizing of smallholders into Integrated Savings and Lending Groups (ISLGs) whereby financial and adult literacy classes are taught and effective money management skills are learned. ISLGs in particular allow women to engage more fully in micro-enterprises, and provide a formal track record appealing to lending institutions.
Using a gender sensitive lens, our initiatives improve nutrition by knowledge transfer of critical food groups, coupled with hands-on instruction in how to grow and prepare nutrition-rich foods for family consumption. Global Communities uses a variety approaches including Kitchen Gardens; peer nutrition counseling; exclusive breastfeeding and supplemental feeding emphasizing the “first one thousand days”; and instruction in sanitation and personal hygiene.
Our work in transitional agriculture development always begins with quality needs assessment and response that focuses on livelihoods protection and promotion, using a combination of food aid such as conditional food vouchers for asset restoration, and other cutting-edge interventions with a longer-term perspective that center on social protection mechanisms.
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