Agriculture

Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

SUCCESSFUL SMALL FARMS YIELD THRIVING COMMUNITIES.

Small-scale farmers produce 70% of the world’s food. By helping these vital producers increase their crop yields and bring their goods to market, we’re fighting hunger—and poverty. It’s a win-win for the world.

Photos by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

SMART Skills reap growing harvests.

Experience and research tell us that 70% of small-scale farmers living in the poorest areas don’t have access to banks, rarely receive extension visits and operate outside of commercial markets. We’ve found that farmers are seeking support in five core skills to succeed over the long term: group organization, finance, sustainable production, access to markets and innovation. We call them SMART Skills and they are key to our Pathway to Prosperity, a strategy that is lifting millions of small-scale farmers out of poverty. So far, more than 3 million staff, partners, promoters and beneficiaries have participated in our SMART curriculum.

Providing farmers with financial education and linking them to capital is critical. We often begin with savings-led microfinance groups that help farmers build capital and learn the basics of financial management. There are nearly 2.8 million members in 46 countries. Farmers learn to time their savings cycles with growing seasons and access improved seeds so they can expand their production—and build the future they envision.

In Ethiopia, Isha Ahmed has learned new farming and financial management techniques that have helped her family through epic drought. “If it wasn’t for this program, I’d be on the streets. But instead, I’m sending my kids to “school,” she says.

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