the same as any small business, small farmers are entrepreneurs struggling to
survive in a competitive environment, except that the
consequences of a failed investment are much harsher. If a buffalo dies, the
rice crop fails, a disease destroys fruit trees, or the prices for a crop fall
at harvest, members of the family may have to forgo sufficient food or essential
Diversification is key for small farmers to improve
the profitability of their agricultural enterprises. Like an investment
portfolio, a small farm is most likely to yield healthy profits when it has a
diverse range of products and times to investment maturity. Diversity enables
farmers to capitalize on the agronomic benefits of integrated systems while
maximizing profit and minimizing risk.
progress to profitable, diversified systems, small farmers need affordable,
low-risk ways to improve their agricultural businesses. IDE develops the
local private sector to provide incremental investment
opportunities appropriate for small farms that have clear and rapid returns.
Capacity building ensures that local enterprises can provide the range of
services, technical assistance, advice, and information small farmers need. IDE
creates an environment that allows small farmers to continually improve their
agricultural businesses: an environment of expanding, adapting grassroots
private sector enterprises.
At the same time, IDE designs and conducts
marketing campaigns to build demand for improved diversified agriculture
processes. Marketing campaigns for agriculture include technical training
materials to provide farmers the knowledge they need to adopt techniques as well
as marketing materials to motivate farmers to purchase inputs and services.