Message to Paris: Smallholder Farmers Are Ready to Help

As more than 140 world leaders gather today for the opening of the climate change talks in Paris, the vital role of the world’s 2.5 billion smallholder farmers in combatting climate change is increasingly finding itself front and center. Click on the brochure above for the full story:

Until recently, smallholder farmers have been thought of as a problem needing solving. Typically with less than five acres (roughly two hectares), they are among the world’s poorest citizens. But together they constitute one third of the global population and currently produce 70% of our food on 60% of the earth’s arable land. And over the last decade they are increasingly being seen as essential for any long-term sustainable solution. 

Nowhere is this clearer than in an innovative business model being implemented in rural Haiti by the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA). Now through a new partnership with U.S. based non-profit Impact Farming, the model is expanding internationally. The animating principle behind both initiatives is that small-scale family farmers can use a self-financing business model to help feed and reforest the world while simultaneously addressing community development, women’s empowerment… and climate change.

A key to the SFA’s success in Haiti is using tree planting as a ‘natural bitcoin’ that finances agricultural improvements. Farmers grow and maintain trees in order to earn better crop seeds, tools and training. These agricultural inputs lead to significantly higher crop yields and household income. But it all starts with trees.

With a bit of help, smallholder farmers everywhere can use an entrepreneurial model to transform families, communities and local economies. They could end up changing the world.