Small Scale, Big Impact: Smallholder agriculture's contribution to better nutrition

Despite the fact that there is enough food for everyone, almost 870 million people go hungry every night. 2.3 million children die needlessly because of malnutrition each year and 165 million more have their future potential permanently damaged because they don’t receive the right nutrients at the start of life. This is a human tragedy, with a clear moral imperative for world leaders to act and the UK should play a leading role.

This policy briefing draws on a report, commissioned by the UK Hunger Alliance (HA) and written by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), which investigates smallholder agriculture’s contribution to better nutrition.

Findings suggest that smallholder agricultural development that is environmentally sustainable, can dramatically reduce poverty and hunger. To have greatest impact, investments should:

  • Empower small-scale women farmers
  • Promote small-scale farming including home gardens, small-scale livestock and fish-rearing
  • Complement agricultural programmes with education and nutrition communication, health services, clean water and sanitation.
  • Countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Tanzania, United Republic of
  • Co-authors: UK Hunger Alliance
  • Published: April 2013

Related Publications

COVID-19 could condemn women to decades of poverty: Implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s and girls’ economic justice and rights

COVID-19 has become an unprecedented and unpredictable global crisis. It is “a defining moment in human history”.  COVID-19 has affected everyone, but not equally so. The pandemic is exploiting and exposing deep structural inequalities... Read more...


Are VSLA feminist platforms for gender transformation?

This paper provides findings and recommendations about how Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) can be a platform to challenge patriarchal structures that discriminate against and normalise violence against women and... Read more...


Women on the Move Annual Report 2019

When women are able to come together in safe spaces, they can use their collective power and voice to bring about change for a more equitable world. Women on the Move (WOM) is a CARE regional strategy launched in 2016 that mobilises savings... Read more...


Curiosity Collective: Evidence of social changes for women in savings groups

CARE has been working with Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) since we first launched the model in Niger in 1991. Over the years, VSLAs have reached more 7.6 million members, 81% of them women. The economic impacts of the VSLA groups... Read more...


Women’s economic empowerment in emergency contexts – Niger: A Case Study

This report, based on research into CARE humanitarian interventions in Niger, analyses whether community-led savings groups and income-generation activities can represent a way not only to respond to crises, but also to increase women’s... Read more...


CARE International Women’s Economic Empowerment Impact Report 2018

Women still have fewer economic rights, less access to economic opportunities and less control over economic resources than men due to a range of social, legal and political inequalities. Women’s economic empowerment (WEE) is one of four... Read more...


Women on the Move Annual Report 2018

Women on the Move is a CARE regional strategy to mobilise savings groups in West Africa, so that women and girls can assert their basic economic and social rights. Evidence has shown that women-led savings groups are a powerful platform for... Read more...


State of practice: Savings groups and the role of government in sub-Saharan Africa

In recent years, governments across sub-Saharan Africa have deepened their engagement with savings groups, recognising the potential of the community-based microfinance model to contribute to national development agendas. This report, based on an... Read more...