How do Family Farmers Tackle the SDGs?
Agriculture is the ‘common thread’ connecting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and farming families all over the world are critical to delivering the ambitious post-2015 development agenda.
How do these farmers see themselves taking action on the 17 SDGs? What do they hope the SDGs can do for them? Are they prepared to embark on such a large-scale challenge?
Learn which SDGs they care about and the programs that are improving their access to agricultural innovation and the technologies and training that help them achieve their goals.
Chieng Sophat, grows cucumbers and yardlong beans on a plot of 1,000 square meters in the Battambang province in Cambodia . He sells most of his produce on the local market to support his family of five.
Like many Cambodian vegetable farmers, Chieng faces a host of climactic problems.
“I’ve been farming since the 1980s, and I’ve always had trouble making money. Flooding is a serious problem that can wipe out entire crop cycles, and it’s one that will only get worse as the effects of global climate change intensify.”
The program Cambodia HARVEST introduced improved techniques and technologies to increase farmer yields and incomes.
“I’m happy with these new methods,” Chieng said. He has doubled his yields, using the extra income to pay for his children’s school and household improvements.
Dan Kelley has been growing corn and soybeans on his family farm in Illinois for decades.
“During my lifetime I have seen corn yields on the same land increase from 125 bushels per acre to over 200 bushels per acre,” he says. “Much of this increase has occurred in the last 15 years due to improvements in seed technology.
Dan also attributes the United States’ successful agriculture business on having access to that technology as well as research information on efficient use of fertilizers, water, and pesticides.
“When it comes to crop production, every acre matters,” Dan says. “The farmers of the USA have increased production per acre while utilizing not only 21st seed technology but being conscious of environmental concerns. We realize maximizing production on our best soils means that we do not need to crop fragile land that may be forested or highly susceptible to erosion. Many of us are utilizing “filter strips” along creeks and rivers to reduce the amount of soil that might leave the farm.”
Yovita is the head of her household, and provides for her daughter, younger sister, and niece. But her dependence on rain-fed agriculture means she has struggled to produce enough maize on her farm to eat and sell.
“Since I cannot control the rain, my harvests are fluctuating as they solely depend on rain. That means, if there is not enough rain, I am likely to harvest little or harvest nothing,” she says. “There is nothing that I can do to desist from rain-fed agriculture unless my government intervenes with an irrigation system.
But thanks to One Acre Fund’s agricultural program that give farmers access to financing and training, Yovita is farming her way out of hunger and poverty. Farmers are supplied with hybrid maize seed and fertilizer, agricultural training on the best farming techniques, and market facilitation on credit to help them maximize their crop yields and increase their farm income.
With her boosted maize yields and subsequent income, Yovita has been able to send her daughter to school, and build a house for her family to live in.
Profiles republished with permission from Farming First, visit the SDGs and Me Archives to see more farmer stories.