Living Income

KIT aims to contribute to a living income for farmers as the starting point for longer-term prosperity.

The majority of investments in agricultural value chains that aim to create farm-level economic and social impact often lack quantifiable, absolute targets. A baseline study, existing programme data or national statistics usually inform percentage-based goals for increasing farmers’ income. But one key question often remains:

How much should a farming family earn to achieve a ‘decent standard of life’?

Leading public and private sector organisations have made significant progress in addressing poverty in agricultural value chains. At KIT, we have been actively involved in these efforts, with a specific focus on the coffee and cocoa sectors.

Complex challenges still lie ahead due to the large gaps remaining between the current incomes of smallholder farmers and newly calculated Living Income Benchmarks. Even after positive effects of interventions are taken into account, many segments of farmers have insufficient incomes and remain unprofitable, for example due to small farm sizes or motivation and ambition factors leading to them not adopting the new practices.

KIT is a member of the Living Income Community of Practice (co-hosted by GIZ, ISEAL and the Sustainable Food Lab) and contributes to the development of official methodologies and services which support organisations to design programmes and targeted interventions that close the income gaps. These include the Guidance Manual on Calculating and Visualizing Income Gap to a Living Income Benchmark (2020).