FIELD Brief 15: Adaptation Options for Smallholders to Enhance Food Security in a Changing Climate

Earl Saxon
Clint Curtis
Don Henry
FHI 360
Institutional Sponsor: 
United States Agency for International Development
Publication date: 
Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Changes in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events already undermine food security, especially for those who rely on rain-fed agriculture. Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are already contributing to climatic anomalies. More are inevitable, even under the most optimistic mitigation scenarios. Smallholder farmers are the most numerous and most vulnerable farmers, while micro- and small-enterprises (MSEs)  provide critical links in the food value chains  on which the non-farm population depends.

A great deal of effort is rightly directed towards increasing the productivity of smallholders. However, MSEs are often ignored, despite the fact that poor post-harvest handling in the food value chain forces farmers to produce smaller harvests for fear of low prices after a bumper harvest or having unsold produce rotting in the field. Better services by MSEs would also enhance local food security by reducing wastage during processing, storage, and transport.

This FIELD Brief, developed by FHI 360's renowned climate change expert Dr. Earl Saxon, presents strategies development practitioners can use to assist smallholders and MSEs throughout the food value chain to buffer the impacts of climate change and contribute to the broader goals of strengthening livelihood and fostering broader economic development, especially for vulnerable populations.