131. Members of the ASFG believe that the issues highlighted in the Foundations and Pillars of this policy framework are of critical importance to help smallholder farmers in Africa scale up their entrepreneurial activity and increase their participation in markets. There are, however, a number of other issues that are material not only to smallholder farmers or the rural economy but to the entire development agenda: gender equity, climate change, and food security. In our conceptual framework consisting of Foundations that support the entire rural economy and Pillars that support smallholder farmers specifically, these issues run through the entire system as cross-cutting structures, hugely relevant to discussions dealing with every other area included in the framework. Any advocacy on the subject of smallholders’ access to markets needs to be underpinned by an awareness of these issues, and policy recommendations need to be grounded in a recognition of their importance.
132. This framework does not include any specific indicator questions relating to these cross-cutting issues; although a number of the suggested policy indicator questions in earlier sections do refer to them (for example, the indicator under Pillar 1, Access to land and water, focusing on whether any special measures are in place to reduce the gender gap in land tenure; or the Pillar 2 indicator questions about providing greater support for agroecological approaches to improving soil fertility). A brief summary of pertinent issues in each of the three cross-cutting areas is included here for reference.