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Cordaid sustainable livelihoods

Food systems

In 2021, an estimated 700 million people were living in extreme poverty. These people lack access to decent work and basic services and experience severe food insecurity.

We improve their perspective by strengthening food systems. We do this by supporting smallholder farmers to produce sufficient and nutritious food. We also invest in inclusive value chains and economic growth, by supporting small and medium enterprises to grow and create employment opportunities.

Responsible business

Led by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Cordaid supports companies and their suppliers to become responsible corporate actors by ensuring decent work, living wages and environmental protection.

We also hold governments to account for their role in the field of responsible business, be it legislation, policy development or other stimulating measures.

Three-track approach

Our approach to increasing food security and strengthening agricultural livelihoods follows three tracks. We increase the technical and business capacities of smallholder farmers to produce sufficient and nutritious food for household consumption, while also earning an income from farming. We support low-income farmers and their organisations in accessing finance and markets, and, thus, increasing their income. And we pressure governments to implement policies that are favourable to farmers and producer organisations.

By supporting entrepreneurs in fragile settings, we provide access to economic opportunities for marginalised communities and contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2 (zero hunger) and 8 (decent work and economic growth).

System strengthening: the sustainable way forward

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Climate-resilient food systems

Extreme weather events increasingly impact the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and their communities. They urgently need to adapt to climate change, which is caused mostly by the big fossil fuel industries and agribusinesses of which they are no part. We support them in switching to more sustainable and climate-resilient forms of agriculture and food production.

Youth employment and entrepreneurship

Cordaid also boosts youth employment, by offering young people the opportunities to increase their technical, professional, social, and entrepreneurial skills. Our training and mentoring schemes improve their access to employment, markets, finance, land, and new technologies.

With our work on this topic, we contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations:





  • Triple nexus

    We aim to link relief to rehabilitation, development and peace
  • Climate justice

    We actively pursue sustainability principles across all our activities
  • Gender equity

    We want equal rights for women, men, and non-binary people
  • Diversity and inclusion

    We need diversity to build peaceful, equitable and resilient societies