Notable advances and significant achievements have been made in recent decades to address poverty, food security, health and nutrition in developing countries. Notwithstanding these gains, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that 805 million people are unable to meet their basic dietary requirements. In sub-Saharan Africa, 36% of children under 5 years old are stunted. In Asia, the corresponding figure is 27%.
Nowadays the linkages between poverty, food security, and nutrition are better understood as drivers of efforts to eradicate poverty amongst the most vulnerable and marginalized rural sectors.
Food and livelihood security for smallholder farmers is threatened by environmental factors, limited market integration, and population growth. Recent indications are that food production will have to be increased by 50–60% by 2050, when the world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion. To meet this daunting task, smallholder farmers must move beyond subsistence agriculture into broad-based food, nutrition and income security, relying on more diverse livelihoods. Smallholders and family farms are primary target groups of IIRR’s food security and livelihood resilience initiatives.
Smallholder farms need to be more environmentally friendly, agro-ecologically sound, and economically productive. IIRR’s three decades of experience in testing, promoting, and sharing regenerative agriculture provides a variety of choices for a new focus on climate-smart agriculture (CSA). CSA addresses food and income security while helping reduce the carbon footprint of small farms and bringing tangible benefits to smallholder farmers and their communities.
IIRR’s livelihood resilience orientation recognizes that climate change will continue to mean more frequent and extreme weather events. Ways have to found to manage risks and mitigate the impacts of climate shocks.