Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

In many developing economies, MSMEs play a large role in the agriculture sector, and hence are key to achieving food security and enhancing sustainable agriculture. Target 2.3 of the SDGs directly references MSMEs by aiming to double the agricultural productivity of small-scale food producers. In Asia-Pacific countries, the proportion of food produced by small-scale producers varies widely (from 43 per cent in Nepal, to 85 per cent in Armenia, for example23) as do incomes (from a few hundred US dollars per year to over US $3,000 per year in countries such as Viet Nam and Mongolia24).

Small-scale farming by MSMEs can foster multi-cropping and less intensive agricultural practices, ensure sourcing from local entities, and demonstrate transparency in the agricultural supply chain particularly Small-scale farming by MSMEs can foster multi-cropping and less intensive agricultural practices, ensure sourcing from local entities, and demonstrate transparency in the agricultural supply chain particularly when sourcing.25 All these factors can contribute to more sustainable agriculture. Furthermore, the presence of local-scale agriculture in rural communities can contribute to a wide spread of knowledge of appropriate agricultural techniques and conditions, in turn enabling better food security.

MSMEs have proved receptive to new techniques for improving the food supply chain. In India, food waste reducing technologies minimize post-harvest losses and have resulted in reduced losses by over 60 per cent – and increased smallholder farmers’ incomes by more than 30 percent.26 Areas for innovation and new business include manufacturing of agricultural machinery that reduces carbon emissions, management of agricultural waste, and tools to improve fertilizer use. While MSMEs are already active in these areas, building MSME capacity and enabling access to technology for small and medium agriculture-based enterprises can contribute significantly to the achievement of Goal 2.

Policy measures to support Goal 2:

  • Recognize the contributions of small-scale agricultural producers to food security and local communities, particularly in LDCs, and encourage small-scale farming that fills local niches.
  • Assist MSMEs to recognize the opportunities tied to more sustainable agriculture, including access to green markets, longevity of certain resources (e.g. fisheries and topsoil), and the roles they can play in strengthening local communities via food security and nutrition.
  • Enhance technology access and provision of skills to agricultural MSMEs to improve productivity and protect agricultural regions from degradation.
Resources

23 Food and Agricultural Organization. Performance tracking of SDG 2.

24 Ibid.

25 Edwards, C. (2018). UN's Sustainable Development Goals for Small Businesses

26 Business & Sustainable Development Commission (2017). Better Business Better World.