SDG2: Zero hunger

Small-scale farmers have a massive role to play in ending world hunger – if they can get fair prices for their crops and the right support for their farms.

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Image courtesy of the United Nations

Small-scale farmers, with holdings of less than two hectares, provide 70 percent of the world’s population with food. They are at the heart of our global agricultural system, growing their crops under increasingly challenging conditions; from climate change and pest infestations, to land access and persistent unfair trading conditions. They are also subject to extreme price volatility. It is vital that farmers can depend upon a stable income, to invest in their farms and businesses, to ensure long-term food security for their families and communities and to keep people working in agriculture.

While Zero Hunger is its overarching aim, Goal 2 is actually far more ambitious. It aims to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.”

How Fairtrade contributes to SDG2: Zero hunger, food security and sustainable agriculture

Fairtrade seeks to enable farmers to achieve better market access, and campaigns to ensure trade policies support their needs in practice. Ninety percent of Fairtrade producer organizations are small-scale farming organizations. Fairtrade has been shown to increase their standards of living, reduce economic vulnerability and strengthen their position.

Here are some key ways Fairtrade achieves this:

  • The Fairtrade Minimum Price, which acts as a safety net for farmers and workers and protects them from fluctuations in the market price.

  • The Fairtrade Premium, which is an extra sum of money, which farmers and workers decide democratically how to spend. Often they invest this money in their farms, building warehouses, farming equipment or improving the quality of their crop. Investments in community development projects, such as the provision of social or economic services, also contribute to SDG2.

  • The Fairtrade Standards help foster sustainable food production. Our environmental standards impose strict rules on pesticide use, water conservation, soil erosion, Genetically Modified Organisms, biodiversity, energy use and reducing the carbon footprint of agriculture. Work towards achieving decent incomes for farmers and workers, through our Fairtrade programmes, partnerships and advocacy.

Small-scale farmers are vital to world food production – but many of them feel they can’t survive the way things are. Choosing Fairtrade supports them and the next generation to stay in agriculture, makes farming a sustainable livelihood and helps ensure we can still enjoy some of our favourite foods in the years to come.

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Abigail, the daughter of one of the project lead farmers, shows a first harvested yam.
Image courtesy of ITC

Diversifying incomes, improving livelihoods

A joint project between Fairtrade and the International Trade Centre (ITC) has enabled cocoa farmers in Ghana to diversify their farms and increase their income.

As part of the Alliances for Action project, 270 cocoa farmers – half of them women – started growing yams for their own consumption and for sale on local markets.

After the first harvest of yams, farmers saw an average increase of 22 percent in revenues, rising to 26 percent amongst the women farmers.

The project brought obvious benefits like food generation but also unexpected benefits like additional income for school fees and money for the home through the yam production element. For these reasons I would like to continue to participate in the project and it would be great if the project could be expanded to include other farmers so they can benefit, too,” said Victoria Donkor, one of the project’s lead farmers. Learn more.