Partnerships for Agricultural Development and Improved Nutrition
Partnerships between the public sector, private sector, civil society, local communities and agricultural producers are a critical strategy in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Known as public-private partnerships, or PPPs, these collaborations allow the participants to share the risks, responsibilities and benefits of their joint investments.
PPPs do not follow a set model and are formed to achieve a variety of objectives.
PPPs for agricultural development include building road and rail networks that connect farmers to urban markets; developing agricultural technologies and tailoring them for the needs of small-scale farmers; and opening new financing opportunities so farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs can expand their businesses.
Partnerships to reduce hunger and increase diet diversity include educating women and men about the importance of nutrition; improving the cold chain for nutritious foods; and creating fortified and bio-fortified foods to reduce the “hidden hunger” of micronutrient deficiency.
Producers are Partners Too
In 2016, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) published a blueprint for Public-Private-Producer Partnerships (4Ps) as an expanded paradigm for PPPs. It advocates for the inclusion of producer groups, specifically small-scale farmers, in the design, management, monitoring and evaluation of partnerships for sustainable agriculture value chains.
Producer groups bring essential resources to the table such as knowledge of local growing conditions, access to land and water, capital investment and labor. These 4P collaborations strengthen local buy-in, build leadership capacity and help
Women’s Time Is the Key
Maximizing women’s time is the critical consideration for partnerships seeking to increase the productivity of women farmers, as well as nutrition and diet diversity within the home.
These partnerships need to address the two things that most women farmers lack: financial resources to purchase productive inputs and knowledge of agronomic practices.
Without resources to buy the productive inputs of her choice, such as hybrid seeds, herbicides or mechanization technologies, a woman will spend more time planting, weeding and harvesting to increase her output.
This reduces the number of hours she has for tasks such as childcare, eldercare, cooking and housekeeping, which in most contexts she will still be expected to perform.
Agricultural extension systems in low-income countries rarely focus on the specific needs of women farmers, excluding them from critical knowledge that could improve their productivity and reduce their labor burden.
While circumstances vary greatly from one community to another, research in Africa and Asia confirms that identifying women’s time and resource constraints is essential to improving both agricultural productivity and maternal and child nutrition.