Seventy-five percent of the world's poor live in rural areas, toiling on tiny plots of land that yield barely enough to support their family's basic needs and necessities. For many of these rural citizens, agriculture has the greatest potential to lift them out of poverty, but formidable obstacles stand in the way.
Even if they have land to farm, many small farmers, particularly women, lack access to proper agricultural inputs, including high-yield seeds, technologies and fertilizers.
Shut out from traditional forms of banking, these farmers have little access to formalized financing. At harvest time, with no credit, they are unable to store their crops in reliable and safe warehouses. Often working in remote areas, they find it difficult to get their harvested goods to market.
It is a vicious cycle that keeps them mired in perpetual poverty: forced to sell crops at a time when prices are low, and forced to buy food and inputs at a time when prices are high.
By harnessing the private sector as an engine of growth and development, we know that we can make a difference in the lives of millions of small holder farmers throughout the world.