23 August — 06 October, 2013

Marcus Bleasdale

Farming out of Poverty

World-renowned photojournalist, Marcus Bleasdale, spent a month traveling in Africa and Latin America to highlight the high impact solutions of One Acre Fund, Root Capital, COMACO – Community Markets for Conservation, and KickStart.

If these farmers succeed, so might we all

In developing countries, smallholder farmers, most of whom are women, know misery. They toil in a time warp, living and working essentially as their forebears did a century ago. With tired seeds, meager soil nutrition, primitive storage facilities, wretched roads, and no capital or credit, they harvest less than one-quarter the yields of Western farmers.

The daily dramas of the farmers’ lives unfold against the backdrop of a looming global challenge: to feed a growing population, world food production must nearly double by 2050. If these farmers succeed, so might we all.

Poor farmers are not a problem to be solved, they are the solution.
– Bill Gates

1.2 billion people make less than $1.25 per day and suffer from severe poverty and hunger. Two-thirds of them live in rural areas and depend on agriculture as their primary source of income. Their success or failure determines whether they have enough to eat, are able to send their children to school, and can earn any money to save.

The power of investing in agriculture is clear: Economic growth in the agricultural sector is two to four times more effective at reducing hunger and poverty than growth in any other sector. 
Helping farm families produce more is the smartest way to fight hunger and poverty. It is essential to addressing the need to feed a growing population and improving their nutrition. When farmers can grow more food and earn more income, they can achieve self-sufficiency and live better lives.

In the last several years, the global community has begun to refocus its attention on agriculture. Rising food prices and concerns about feeding a growing population are prompting more and more organizations and governments to understand the urgency of supporting agricultural development.

Today, there are a number of organizations successfully addressing the dire situation facing smallholder farmers. These initiatives are happening across the developing world with tremendous returns to the small-scale farmers: land that was once barren now boasts beautiful fruits and vegetables, months of hunger season are being eradicated, and women are finally able to control household income.

The World We Want Foundation invests in initiatives that are changing farmers’ lives and their communities. By supporting organizations with creative, sustainable, and scalable models, we work to help these small farmers boost their productivity, increase their incomes, and build better lives for their families.

Marcus Bleasdale is a documentary photographer who uses his work to influence policy makers around the world. His work on human rights and conflict has been shown at the US Senate, The US House of Representatives, The United Nations and the Houses of Parliament in the UK. His work also appears in the New Yorker, The New York Times, TIME Magazine, Newsweek and National Geographic Magazine.

Marcus has been awarded The UNICEF Photographer of the Year Award, The OPC Olivier Rebbot Award for Best Foreign Reporting, Magazine Photographer of the Year award, The Alexia Foundation Award for World Peace, The World Press Awards, The Anthropographia Award for Photography and Human Rights, the Webby Award, and the Hood Medal for Services to Photography from Royal Photographic Society UK.