Feed the future research

Asnakech Hamesso inside her cooperative's new potato storage facility in Karara Filicha Village, Oromia region, Ethiopia. Photo: Eva-Lotta Jansson/Oxfam Amerca

Oxfam works with partners to tackle the injustice of poverty, hunger, and food insecurity by unlocking the potential of small-scale farmers—particularly women. But when small farmers, livestock producers, fisherfolk, and pastoralists can be supported to lift their families out of poverty, they can end the cycle of food insecurity that threatens communities and whole nations.

Through in-country research and advocacy, Oxfam is deepening its understanding of what is working and what can be improved in US bilateral food security programs such as the Feed the Future (FTF) Initiative. FTF supports aid programs that seek to increase agriculture sector growth, build resilience to climate change, empower women farmers, and improve maternal and child nutrition in 19 selected countries.

Oxfam researchers have taken an in-depth look at FTF-funded programs in Ghana, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Haiti, Senegal, and Tanzania to identify opportunities for the US government’s foreign assistance to be more responsive to small-scale farmers’ needs and their vision for the future of agriculture. Oxfam examined FTF-funded programs’ strategies and results in reaching and empowering small-scale producers, promoting sustainable farming practices and adaptation to climate change, and strengthening the capacity of local institutions. An assessment of these case studies is present in Oxfam's report, Promise and Potential: Delivering inclusive, sustainable development for small-scale food producers through the Feed the Future initiative.


The US government’s Feed the Future initiative can play a key role in ensuring that small-scale farmers escape hunger and poverty. Feed the Future should:

  • Create opportunities for all small-scale producers—including vulnerable households with the fewest resources and least access to markets—to increase their productivity, self-reliance, and economic opportunity.
  • Promote sustainable agricultural practices so that small-scale farmers can protect the environment and adapt to experienced or anticipated impacts of climate change.
  • Put tools and resources in the hands of small-scale producers, especially women, to claim their rights and hold governments and businesses accountable for the impacts of their poli­cies and practices.
  • Support partner countries’ priorities for agriculture and food security and ensure strong national- and local-level consultation with small-scale producers, civil society, and governments about decisions and investments that affect them.

In order to be successful, Feed the Future will need strong, predictable Congressional funding and support to sustain US efforts to improve food security and nutrition around the world. Oxfam’s findings are helping to build a compelling case for this, as well as influencing how the US government implements these programs around the world so that they can be more inclusive of small-scale farmers and more sustainable.

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