Boosting the smallholder economy: Netafim Advancing UN SDGs

Boosting the smallholder economy: Netafim Advancing UN SDGs

The recently published UNDP Human Development Report for 2015 identifies “sustainable work, which promotes human development while reducing and eliminating negative side effects and unintended consequences, as a major building block of sustainable development.” This is what UN SDG Number 8* is all about: economic growth underpinned by the availability of meaningful work in a positive labor environment. That brings us back to drip irrigation solutions. Irrigation is not just a way to grow crops more efficiently. It’s the basis for the creation of sustainable work in agriculture and the improvement of the economic position and well-being of millions of smallholder families around the world and the communities they are a part of.

At Netafim, many of our efforts to drive mass adoption of drip irrigation include making drip accessible to smallholder farmers. Over the years, as awareness has grown, farmers have overcome their suspicion of new technologies and now understand the benefits of using more advanced systems. However, in many cases, even a very small initial investment is more than smallholder farmers, often living below the poverty line, can afford. Netafim has developed special solutions, such as the Family Drip System™, to make irrigation more accessible and more inclusive.

Empowering small enterprises is a key element of UN SDG Goal 8. According to the FAO, 1.5 billion people live in smallholder households. The FAO states that many of those households are extremely poor and the highest incidence of workers below the poverty line is associated with employment in agriculture. At the same time, smallholders provide up to 80% of the food supply in Asian and sub-Saharan Africa.

One example is to be found in the work we have been doing in Kenya. In 2013, we partnered with our Kenyan distributor to advance a two-year “Financing Drip Irrigation Systems” project to improve access to drip irrigation. This is part of a USAID-funded framework, “Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation Program”.

The initiative provides training for smallholder farmers to improve yields and crop efficiency and offers access to specially developed Netafim Family Drip System (FDS™) units with micro financing availability. Since the launch, 5,000 farmers have received training and 500 farmers purchased the FDS™ kit. They have gained a foothold to economic empowerment as independent small holder farmers, transforming the quality of life in their communities in Kenya.

With the planet's population expected to surpass 9 billion by 2050, food scarcity is one of our major global challenges. As the world leader in smart irrigation, Netafim is driving mass adoption of innovative, simple & reliable solutions for all crops & growers. Together with our partners for success, we are committed to ensuring food security for a sustainable future.

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* UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) # 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Netafim will be participating at the Aid and Development Africa Summit 2017. For more information visit

Image Credit: Moshik Brin.

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