The Community of Practice convenes each year to better understanding the smallholder farmers we work with and to improve sustainable supply and livelihoods. Data alone is insufficient for learning. Exchange and robust dialogue is in efforts to use data to inform strategy and affect positive change. At the close of the meeting, we reflected on what we learned during our time together and identified areas for continued work going forward:
- How can data gathering deliver value for farmers?
- How can companies, NGOs, researchers work with farmers in a respectful way that identifies their needs and considers their desires for the future?
- How do we better understand what makes data influential for informing decision-making and strategy development?
SHARING DATA AND RESULTS
- How do we get better at sharing studies consistently and in a useful way so that information is used and work is not duplicated?
- Could we develop a common reporting template to make comparing data easier?
- Nutrition is an emerging topic of interest. Can we continue to share on best measurement approaches?
POVERTY AND INCOME METRICS
- Economic data is sensitive. How do we measure this while protecting people’s confidentiality? What are approaches to measuring income?
- How do we think about and manage the reality that some small farms cannot be economically viable or sustainable (because of their location, farm size, etc.)?
- After all these years, it still feels as though we have no solution to lift farmers out of poverty. To create impact, we need a theory of change that reduces the amount of people in poverty, what does this look like?
- We did not focus on metrics to track environmental issues like water quality, soil, or climate resilience. SFL will be exploring interest in a working group among leaders in this topic in the coming months.
Perhaps the most striking take-away was the call for more collaboration and data sharing. As more data is collected, including overlapping data in the same communities, the community of practice calls on actors in the field to work together where possible. Increasingly companies and organizations are realizing that the shared challenges that smallholder agricultural systems face necessitate shared solutions—only by joining forces can we make real progress.
Thank you from the SFL Team!
Annex of Tools and Approaches
- Poverty Stoplight
- Household Economy Assesment Website
- CocoaAction’s Farmer Economic Model
- Progress out of Poverty Index
Income Measurement Resources
- The Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA), the ISEAL Alliance, and Sustainable Food Lab’s joint guidance document: Measuring Smallholder Incomes: Towards Better Alignment and Reporting of Farm Economic Metrics.
- ISEAL Alliance, GIZ and Sustainable Food Lab’s discussion note on Defining, Calculating and Using a Living Income Benchmark in the Context of Agricultural Commodities.
- Nestlé’s Status Report on their Public Commitments and Lessons Learned to Date: Farmer Family Nutrition.
- SwissContact’s Good Nutrition Practices Impact Study in Indonesia.
- Reports on GAIN, IDH and Unilever’s Seeds of Prosperity Program with Indian tea farmers: Making Business Work for Nutrition and Nutrition Work for Business and Improving the Diet of Farming Families Supplying Tea for Unilever in Tamil Nadu, India.
Service Delivery Model Resources
- IDH’s work with service delivery models and how to optimize them to achieve impact on the farm: Service Delivery Models: Insights for Continuous Improvement and Farm Impact.
Sustainable Development Goal Resources