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Revaluing Smallholder Agriculture

Commitments to reinvest in smallholder agriculture, from governments and multilateral institutions, have been stronger on rhetoric than substance. But some policies have begun to shift, new institutions have been created, and new funds have been offered for agricultural development. The key question is whether such initiatives replicate the unsustainable model of industrial agriculture, or instead recognize, as a UN/World Bank report acknowledged, that “business as usual is not an option.” This unprecedented array of experts recommended a dramatic shift toward sustainable and equitable agricultural practices.

Under the leadership of Timothy A. Wise, GDAE is assessing the potential for smallholders to increase their production of staple crops for family consumption and sale in local and regional markets. The goal is to identify the national and international policies needed to allow smallholders to achieve that potential.

Key Publications

Resolving Food Crisis Cover"Achieving Mexico’s Maize Potential," Antonio Turrent Fernández, Timothy A. Wise, and Elise Garvey, GDAE Working Paper 12-03, October 2012. (Also available in Spanish)

Growing Out of the Food Crisis: Mexican Smallholders Key to Food Sovereignty, by Timothy A. Wise, GDAE Globalization Commentary, from Triple Crisis Blog, October 10, 2012 

“Small-Scale Farmers and Development: Assume a Different Economic Model,” by Timothy A. Wise, Triple Crisis Blog, September 27, 2010.

"The True Cost of Cheap Food: The globalisation of the food market
has made food cheap, but who is benefiting?
” by Timothy A. Wise, Resurgence, Issue 259, March/April 2010. Also available in Spanish.

"Policy Space for Mexican Maize: Protecting Agro-biodiversity by Promoting Rural Livelihoods," by Timothy A. Wise, GDAE Working Paper No. 07-01, February, 2007.

"Revaluing Peasant Coffee Production: Organic and Fair Trade Markets in Mexico," by Muriel Calo and Timothy A. Wise, October 2005.

The Promise and the Perils of Agricultural Trade Liberalization: Lessons from Latin America, by Mamerto Pérez, Sergio Schlesinger, and Timothy A. Wise, with the Working Group on Development and Environment in the Americas.

See full library of Globalization Program publications.

The Global Development and Environment Institute’s Globalization and Sustainable Development Program examines the economic, social and environmental impacts of economic integration in developing countries, with a particular emphasis on the WTO and NAFTA's lessons for trade and development policy. The goal of the program is to identify policies and international agreements that foster sustainable development.


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