Roger Thurow: Smallholder farmers are the engine of poverty reduction

Roger Thurow on the importance of smallholder farmers as agents of change.

For too long, the international community has neglected the instrumental role smallholder farmers can play in providing food and reducing poverty in the developing world.

That’s according to Roger Thurow, a senior fellow on global agriculture and food policy at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Now, Thurow said, the development community is waking up to these farmers’ potential.

“A general solution and intervention in reversing this neglect is realizing that these smallholder farmers are worthy and can be worthy clients and customers” to the private sector, development and governments, he told Devex in a video interview.

Inputs and training are needed to help these farmers become more productive and profitable, Thurow suggested.

By empowering smallholder farmers and giving them access to products and markets that will improve their livelihoods, you can not only work to eliminate the problem of hungry farmers but tackle broader challenges around food production and food security, said Thurow, whose most recent book “The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change” traces the lives of smallholder farmers and the impact of access to inputs and training.

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About the author

  • Adva Saldinger

    Adva Saldinger is a Senior Reporter at Devex, where she covers the intersection of business and international development, as well as U.S. foreign aid policy. From partnerships to trade and social entrepreneurship to impact investing, Adva explores the role the private sector and private capital play in development. A journalist with more than 10 years of experience, she has worked at several newspapers in the U.S. and lived in both Ghana and South Africa.

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