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).

Our Living Income Services

Analysing and interpreting living income benchmarks

Depending on the country and sector, we update and adapt existing benchmarks to the socio-economic characteristics of different target groups. We make detailed data available and use indicators and visualisations that drive decision making in a consistent and harmonised way.

Estimating actual income & calculating income gaps

KIT has long-standing expertise in collecting primary data in various sectors and countries, working with a diversity of public and private clients and local organisations. As part of these efforts, our Impact Team digitally collects and visualizes robust quantitative and qualitative data, and draws new insights on actual income components and gaps.

Providing actionable advice for different farmer segments

We use cluster analyses to identify groups of farmers based on variables such as land and family size, age, sex, motivation, ambition or profitability potential. We create strategies and scenarios for each group, looking at diversification options or off-farm income opportunities.

Related Projects & Publications

Our Experts