LWR & Agriculture

Kenyan Farmer Tending to Plants

There are 870 million hungry and undernourished people in the world today. By 2050 the world will need to increase its food production by an estimated 50 to 70 percent. To do this, the international community must devote attention and resources to agricultural development and research, including a global push to close the “gender gap.” While increasing production, the world must also protect and sustain natural resources, taking specific measures to adapt to changing climatic conditions. Lutheran World Relief (LWR) strongly believes that the global agriculture system must ensure that small producers, who grow four-fifths of the food in developing counties, benefit from national agricultural strategies and policies and that their livelihoods are enhanced and empowered.

Our Programming Principles

In responding to these challenges, and as driven by our values and mission to end poverty, injustice and human suffering, LWR promotes and adheres to the following principles:

  • Food systems must ensure the availability of food for everyone; must ensure equal access to food, and support ways to ensure better utilization and nutrition, especially for the world’s poor.
  • Market and structural forces must play a positive role in protecting and enhancing the livelihoods of small producers.
  • Global agriculture must develop in ways that increase both the incomes and food security and nutrition of small producers both as critical suppliers of the world’s food and as the majority of the world’s poor.
  • Agriculture systems must both increase production and better manage and sustain the planet’s biodiversity and land and water resources.
  • Global agriculture must engage a blend of conventional farming, science, economic and market reform, and environmentally sustainable practices.
  • Small producers’ participation in and benefit from agricultural value chains is vital to their income generation and, ultimately, to their food security.
  • Small producers, particularly women, need the skills, access to information, and financing to participate as empowered agents in decisions pertaining to agriculture.

LWR’s Agriculture Strategy and Core Programs

LWR aims to improve the livelihoods of millions of people across Africa, Asia and Latin America through sustainable agriculture efforts that focus on building food security
LWR, Agricultural Development & Food Security
Read about LWR's work to address the challenge of feeding a growing world.
and increasing rural incomes. In working toward this goal, LWR employs four core programs, which work together in integrated programs designed to meet the needs of the specific community and local context.

Core Program 1: Agricultural Value Chains

LWR believes that small farmers and producers can and should effectively benefit in multiple parts of agricultural value chains
LWR and the Agricultural Value Chain
Read about LWR's work to leverage community assets to increase rural incomes.
(AVC), including procurement of inputs and services, production, post-harvest processing, manufacturing, access to markets, sales and distribution. LWR seeks to build small producers’ capacity to participate in and benefit from AVCs, drawing from a broad menu of services, training, and assistance that helps them compete in their particular context. LWR also engages with other actors in the chain to help create fair and mutually beneficial relationships and transactions.

Core Program 2: Capacity Strengthening for Associations & Cooperatives

An important aspect of LWR’s work is supporting the development and strengthening of farmers’ organizations and networks to work across the value chain and to engage with external stakeholders. Working collectively lowers input costs, increases access to vital services, improves economies of scale and helps build economically healthy and resilient communities. Capacity development is woven into the entirety of LWR’s work, both as a means to achieve better outcomes and as a way to build sustainability and resiliency
LWR and Disaster Risk Reduction
Read about LWR's work to build resilience of communities.
.

Core Program 3: Financing for Rural Producers

Access to financial services and credit is crucial in helping small producers work their way out of poverty. Structures and systems that allow farmers to obtain such services vary from country to country and LWR works within those frameworks to maximize access. In some cases, LWR provides small grants for farmers and cooperatives to utilize as loan funds; in others, LWR works to build and support local savings systems for farmers. In Africa, LWR bridges the gap between financial institutions and producers’ organizations to secure loans and credit needed for agricultural inputs. LWR’s Tripartite Rural Financing Model
Bridging the Rural Financing Gap: LWR's Tripartite Model
Read about LWR's innovative financial partnerships.
creates three–way partnerships among LWR, producer associations and financial institutions that were previously beyond the producers’ reach. To incentivize the partnership, LWR provides carefully contracted terms of collateral or guarantee on the producers’ behalf.

Core Program 4: Climate Smart Agriculture

The links between stable and resilient agricultural production and ecologically sound natural resource management
LWR & Natural Resource Management
Read about how LWR approaches natural resource management.
are critical. Increasingly, the interdependence of food security, increased agricultural production and the preservation of the planet’s biodiversity and natural resources is acknowledged as not just a critical challenge but also a key opportunity to develop technical and policy frameworks to achieve all three. This approach is referred to as “Climate Smart Agriculture
LWR and Climate Smart Agriculture
Read about LWR's approach to agriculture in a changing climate.
(CSA),” a framework which addresses the various components of a sustainable production system, including soil and nutrient management, water use, pest and disease control, resilient ecosystems and resources, genetic and biological diversity, and harvesting, processing and supply chains.

Using this framework, LWR’s approach is aimed at three interrelated targets: 1) Increasing production, incomes and food security; 2) Preserving and improving natural resources, and; 3) Developing the capacity of small farmers and their organizations for active engagement with value chains that produce sustainable and just outcomes.

While LWR believes these approaches are the cornerstones to the future of a sustainable global food system, we collaborate with other agricultural stakeholders who may follow other methods. In the end, LWR recognizes that many different techniques will be needed to produce more food at affordable prices, ensure livelihoods for small farmers and reduce the environmental costs of agriculture.

Relevant Resources

LWR and Agriculture
LWR and Agriculture
Read about LWR's core agricultural strategies and programs.
LWR and the Agricultural Value Chain
LWR and the Agricultural Value Chain
Read about LWR's work to leverage community assets to increase rural incomes.
From Emergency Relief to Community Resilience
From Emergency Relief to Community Resilience
Read about how LWR and partners are responding to food insecurity in Niger.
PDFs
English
LWR and Resilience in the Sahel
LWR and Resilience in the Sahel
Read about how LWR is reaching out to those in the Sahel who are undergoing a serious food crisis.
PDFs
English
Empowering Coffee Producers and Cooperatives in Gayo Region
Empowering Small-Scale Coffee Producers and Cooperatives in Gayo Region
Read about how LWR is improving the market potential of coffee in Indonesia's Gayo Region.
PDFs
English
Private Alliances Improve Cocoa Farmer Livelihoods
Private Alliances Improve Cocoa Farmer Livelihoods
Read about how LWR and partners are improving social and productive aspects of the cocoa value chain in Peru.
PDFs
English
Private Alliances Improve Coffee Farmer Livelihoods
Private Alliances Improve Coffee Farmer Livelihoods
Read about how LWR and the Gumutindo Coffee Cooperative Enterprise have worked together to improve coffee chains.
PDFs
English
Protecting and Conserving Water for Agriculture
Protecting and Conserving Water for Agriculture
Read about how LWR and partners are combatting water scarcity in Eastern Kenya.
PDFs
English
Coffee & Cocoa Value Chains Increase Incomes in Rural Nicaragua
Coffee & Cocoa Value Chains Increase Incomes in Rural Nicaragua
Read about how LWR strengthened cooperatives in Nicaragua and maximized their investment of time and resources.
PDFs
English
Divine Chocolate: Our Commitment to Fair Trade
Divine Chocolate: Our Commitment to Fair Trade
Read about how LWR participated in the establishment of the first chocolate company owned and controlled by small-holder farmers.
PDFs
English
Sustainable Landscapes and Adaptation to Changing Climates
Coffee and Cocoa Promote Sustainable Landscapes and Adaptation to Changing Climates
Read about how LWR and partners worked with farmers in Central America to promote sustainable landscaping practices.
PDFs
English
Cocoa in Latin America & the Caribbean
Cocoa in Latin America & the Caribbean
Read about how LWR is helping farmers increase earnings and contribute to sustainable agricultrual development.
PDFs
English
Boosting Women Shallot Producers' Incomes
Boosting Women Shallot Producers' Incomes
Read about how LWR is increasing women's incomes in Mali with improved shallot production and marketing.
PDFs
English
Pathways to Prosperity in the Cocoa Value Chain
Pathways to Prosperity in the Cocoa Value Chain
Read about how LWR is increasing small-holder farmers' access to cocoa markets in Central America.
PDFs
English
LWR, Agricultural Development & Food Security
LWR, Agricultural Development & Food Security
Read about LWR's work to address the challenge of feeding a growing world.
LWR and Climate Smart Agriculture
LWR and Climate Smart Agriculture
Read about LWR's approach to agriculture in a changing climate.
LWR & Seeds
LWR & Seeds
Read how LWR supports participatory research and development of new hybrid seed varieties.
LWR and Quality Cocoa
LWR and Quality Cocoa
Read about LWR's work to increase and improve small-scale production of quality cocoa.
LWR and Quality Coffee
LWR and Quality Coffee
Read about LWR's work to increase and improve the production of quality coffee.
LWR's Tripartite Model
Bridging the Rural Financing Gap: LWR's Tripartite Model
Read about LWR's innovative financial partnerships.