Blind Budgets

Budget transparency and public spending for small-scale producers

Publication date: 22 July 2013
Author: Antonio Hill, Regional Campaigns and Advocacy Adviser, Latin America and Caribbean

In Latin America and the Caribbean, national budgets remain blind to the special needs and priorities small-scale producers. They don’t differentiate small-scale, family farmers from large-scale, industrial agriculture, and they remain opaque, preventing understanding and analysis of who they support, with what kinds of interventions.This undercuts the productivity and food security of millions of women and men who manage small-scale farming operations and provide up to 60 percent of the food supply.

With a new index, Oxfam evaluates budget transparency, accountability, and participation for small-scale producers in the region, and outlines priority areas of improvement. Addressing these would help deliver more and better investment, sustainable livelihoods, and secure food supply for producers and consumers across the region.

Key recommendations from the report:

  • Countries with the lowest scores on the ITP-AFC – including Bolivia, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Paraguay – need to invest in reforms aimed at improving their budget management and increasing transparency in general, thus enabling strategic planning of their budgetary spending on AFC.

  • Countries that do not have legal definitions or policy frameworks that single-out the AFC sector need to define the target population that makes sense in their contexts in order to guarantee expenditures that are tailored to the special needs and priorities of small-scale producers, including women specifically.

  • All countries should identify ways to improve their performance in areas that are specifically important to the AFC sector, beginning with disaggregated information about agricultural producers; monitoring and evaluation of public spending relating to small-scale producers; improved access to information, and; participatory processes that allow small-scale producers to influence the spending that affects them.


The paper is published to support campaigning and policy advocacy for more and better public spending on small-scale, family producers – the top regional priority for the GROW campaign in Latin America and the Caribbean.