Small-scale agriculture remains the majority activity of 70% of the rural sector in the poorest of countries and the major source of rural employment in these regions. Unfortunately, bad practices, falling prices and weak development policies continues to make it unviable.
Small-scale farmers in these regions are best described and identified as owning or tilling 2 ha or less with severely limited assets and capital.
In January 2006 the Us Natural Resources Institute (www.nri.org) released a paper on Global issues written by Junior R. Davis. It identified critical areas for trade, marketing and regulatory reforms that can help small farmers can gain entry to regional and global markets through high value agricultural products.
It cites that the most common problem with small farmers in their abeyance to prevailing technical standards which must be sustained in these markets.
Besides constant research and development to help sway private and government policy intervention for small farmers in gaining access to these markets it his highly imperative that older lessons be remembered.
Oversupply and overdependence caused a lot of traditional commodities to fail due to falling prices. Aiming to supply only supermarket or similar retail chains also is not the most viable option for small farmers as these deals in large bulks and requires higher capital investments.
Of many growing trends in agricultural products, it was cited that horticultural products is one of the driving forces of new opportunities besides fresh fruit, vegetables, livestock, milk, meat, fish and non timber forest products.
These products are scientifically improved fruits, berries, nuts, vegetables, flowers and trees; which hold a significantly higher market yield. Being very well studied and specialized these products can be grown in smaller areas and crops can even be diverse.Research from africanagriculture.blogspot.com shows that Ethiopia expects to yield USD 600 million annually from 2007 onwards and expects to become the leading flower exporter in Africa. Taken from www.indiaprwire.com, the highly successful Flora Expo and Landscape Expo 2007 continuous to prove the country as a new “Flower Power” and expects to trade USD 1 Billion by 2010.