Nature nurture: upscaling smallholder resilience for agrobiodiverse supply chains
Biodiversity loss in supply chains heightens climate risks, jeopardising global food security and exacerbating inequality. Collaborating with smallholder farmers in Indonesia, the Philippines and Tanzania, this project addresses biodiversity loss, enhancing global production systems for improved livelihoods and climate resilience.
Senior project manager, Natural Resources
Biodiversity loss in supply chains increases the risk of climate-induced failure, posing risks to global food security. It also exacerbates inequality and poverty where smallholder farmers’ livelihoods are disadvantaged and excluded in increasingly monopolised commercial supply chains.
In contrast to industrial monocultures, smallholders, who manage 85% of farms globally, play a crucial role in fostering high levels of agrobiodiversity, mixing multiple crop types, while maintaining natural vegetation along farm boundaries and in communal areas. Their diverse production systems help maintain incomes, food security, health, culture, ecosystem services and build climate resilience.
Working closely with smallholder producers in Philippines, Indonesia and Tanzania, this project will improve evidence and knowledge on how to upscale inclusive, resilient, agrobiodiverse production systems used by smallholders. Key questions revolve around understanding and spreading the practices and principles that maintain these systems.
The project will also build locally-based, internationally linked research networks, and foster multidisciplinary partnerships that will support those local smallholder producers based on their needs.
Drawing on innovative learning approaches, the project will help such networks and partnerships to create more learning opportunities and catalyse more collaborative actions that can push for better policies and drive transformation in how we produce food, fuel, fibre and medicines that are good for nature, climate and livelihoods.
What is IIED doing?
The project is implemented by IIED, MVIWAARUSHA, and The Non-Timber Forest Products – Exchange Programme (NTFP-EP).
MVIWAARUSHA is a network of 13,453 smallholder farmers in northern Tanzania. NTFP-EP is an association of 25 members with over 100 partner NGOs and community-based organisations working with forest-based farming communities in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Viet Nam.
IIED will coordinate the project team and lead on synthesising lessons learnt from best practices, developing new policy-relevant research on how the public sector can better leverage private investments, and developing locally-led learning approaches.
We will also support country partners who lead on all in-country work:
- Developing case studies of local community-led agrobiodiversity approaches
- Strategically engaging with sub-national and national policy processes to improve research uptake and effect better policy, and
- Strengthening local research networks that can support smallholder producers and foster learning.
The Forest Farm Facility (FFF) will collaborate closely with the project, including by spreading the project outputs through its global network of forest farm producer organisations (FFPOs), Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
The unsung giants of climate and nature investment: insights from an international survey of local climate and nature action by smallholder forest and farm producers, Xiaoting Hou-Jones, Nicola Sorsby (2023), Working Paper
The Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) approach: delivering climate-resilient landscapes and improved livelihoods, Duncan Macqueen (2022), Working Paper
Thriving in diversity smallholders organising for climate resilience, Xiaoting Hou-Jones, Duncan Macqueen (2019), IIED Briefing