Opportunities are limited for poor households in developing countries. The majority of the population either relies on underpaid employment in the public sector or on small-scale farming to earn meagre incomes for their families.

As countries continue to produce more graduates than the labour market in the public sector could cope with, competition for jobs in the public sector puts more people out of work and leaves insufficient income for sustaining livelihoods. This may lead to tensions, crime, migration, destitution, vulnerability, and even catastrophic political and social consequences.

The problem of underemployment and reduced households income call for governments to carefully design and carry out comprehensive development packages to sustain rural communities and the agricultural economy without undermining the role small-scale farmers play in reducing poverty and achieving overall development targets.

Our approach is to work closely with small-scale farmers to develop their skills, improve agricultural productivity, and avoid negative political and social consequences. We believe the world can learn and benefit enormously from the wealth of knowledge small-scale farmers provide in the fight to reduce the impacts of poverty and climate change.

Photo: Andreea Câmpeanu/ICIJ