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A key factor in promoting food security is helping farmers lose less of their crops, but even in the poorest countries farmers aspire to more than self-sufficiency. They want to trade their produce at a profit to improve their livelihoods so they can buy higher quality, more nutritious food and afford a better standard of living and better healthcare and education for their families.
Markets at a local, regional and international level are key to this in providing an opportunity to trade produce for cash. Even in local markets, quality is important – the customer wants good quality produce – but for the international market, farmers are increasingly expected to consider a plethora of other factors. They need to understand consumer demands and the complex regulations and legislation on pesticide usage, and increasingly they need to be aware of other issues of social and environmental sustainability such as excessive water usage in crop production and use of child labour.
Even though tariff barriers to trade are being lowered, regulations to reduce pesticide residues and prevent the spread of plant diseases can act as major barriers to farmers who want to access the high value markets in Europe and America.
Browse projects that CABI is currently involved in to improve market access for farmers in developing countries >>
Click here to hear from our Global Director for Commodities why commodity crops are vital to smallholder farmers.