10 May 2012

SHARP partnership website launched


SHARP partnership website launched

Smallholders play a crucial part in agricultural production worldwide, producing a significant proportion of the food, fuel and fibre we use. There are many potential benefits of smallholder production, but also a number of challenges. Yields from smallholder production are often significantly lower than for large scale production, and smallholder incomes can be low and are often volatile. This sometimes leads to unnecessary forest clearance, with all its negative impacts on climate and biodiversity.

Supporting smallholders to increase their production in a sustainable way is crucial in reducing rural poverty, tackling climate change and feeding the world’s growing population. SHARP has been set up to help deliver this support by working with the companies that the smallholders supply. The programme will initially focus on smallholders in the oil palm sector, though its model is designed to be applicable to a wide variety of agricultural crops.

SHARP is unique in using the private sector - both oil palm producer companies and investors - as key agents of change in collaboration with other stakeholders and the smallholders themselves. SHARP is being developed by a multi-stakeholder partnership of organisations including oil palm producers, financial organisations, NGOs, governments and supply chain actors, linked by their commitment to improving smallholder production.

SHARP is currently in the process of selecting its first pilot projects. The Proforest Initiative was selected by the project partners as the interim host organization to run the SHARP secretariat until it is set up as a separate legal entity.