Homepage  Homepage     Search on site  Search on site     To write the letter  To write the letter     Site map  Site map
Agro Perspectiva
We are on: 
   
 


Home > News

Small family farmers produce a third of the worlds food

26.04.2021 16:35 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) The world’s smallholder farmers produce around a third of the world’s food, according to detailed new research by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Five of every six farms in the world consist of less than two hectares, operate only around 12 percent of all agricultural land, and produce roughly 35 percent of the world’s food, according to a study published in World Development.

Smallholders’ contributions to food supply varies enormously between countries, with the share as high as 80 percent in China and in the low single-digits for Brazil and Nigeria. The analysis highlights the importance of improved and harmonized data to obtain a more granular and accurate picture of agricultural activities for policy makers.

«It is imperative that we avoid the use of the terms family farms and small farms interchangeably; the majority of family farms are small, but some are larger and even very large,» said Marco Sánchez, Deputy Director of FAO’s Agrifood Economics Division and co-author of the article with Sarah Lowder and Raffaele Bertini, who were with FAO during the research.

In 2014, a flagship report from FAO calculated that nine out of 10 of the world’s 570 million farms were family farms and produced around 80 percent of the world’s food. The new research — «Which farms feed the world and has farmland become more concentrated?» -aims to clarify the prevalence of farm sizes.

The updated estimates are that there are more than 608 million family farms around the world, occupying between 70 and 80 percent of the world’s farmland and producing around 80 percent of the world’s food in value terms. The new research teases out estimates of farm size: around 70 percent of all farms, operating on just 7 percent of all agricultural land, are less than one hectare, while another 14 percent of farms, controlling 4 percent of the land, are between one and two hectares, and another 10 percent of all farms, with 6 percent of the land, are between two and five hectares.

Meanwhile, the largest one percent of farms in the world — greater than 50 hectares — operate more than 70 percent of the world’s farmland, with nearly 40 percent of agricultural land found on farms larger than 1000 hectares.

Why knowing about farm size matters

Such precisions matter for international organizations and policy makers aiming to develop public policies and investments to support family farming, to increase the productivity of smallholders and improve rural livelihoods, as endorsed by the United Nations Decade of Family Farming 2019–28. They also help improve awareness of the state of medium and large-scale farms whose role is also critical to achieving Sustainable Development Goals 1 (eradicating poverty), 2 (achieving Zero Hunger), 10 (addressing inequalities) and 12 (achieving more sustainable production patterns).

To be sure, large regional variations highlight the importance of general levels of economic development. Farm size generally increases with average national income levels, with 99 percent of farms in high-income countries larger than five hectares compared to only 28 percent in low-income countries.

Regional and local factors are also illuminating. Smallholdings occupy a much larger share of agricultural land than the global average in regions such as South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Farm size does not always correlate with the production of specific commodities. For example, in Mongolia, farms not owned by households but organized as business units and organizations account for 90 percent of wheat production. In Tanzania, there are only a handful of large farms occupying only 7 percent of agricultural land, but they are responsible for 80 percent of the country’s wheat output and 63 percent of its tea.

Likewise, changes in farm size must be grasped in local context. An increase in medium-scale farms in Zambia, for example, appears to be attributed to salaried urbanites rather than smallholders increasing the land under their control. Interestingly, there has been an increase in the number of smallholdings in Brazil and the United States of America — both agricultural powerhouses — even though the share of cropland controlled by large farms has increased. Whether that reflects growing inequality or a boom in locally sourced and consumed foods warrants further study, the authors say.

Data gaps

While the new research — and rich publicly-accessible data sets — offers the most complete information available today, it is hampered by uneven and often antique data.

«Rough approximations based on generous assumptions» could be improved on with more country-level data on production, farm size, commodity types, prevailing employment modalities as well as data on income and owners’ residences, the authors say, noting that information on production by farm size is only available for very few countries today.

Much of the data available comes from agricultural census reports, consolidated in the FAO World Programme for the Census of Agriculture, while accessing raw agricultural census data would add precision, the authors note. The censuses also present limitations, as some countries haven’t conducted one for decades and many others exclude non-family entities that operate farms.

Agro Perspectiva

< Industrial production in Ukraine 2.1% up in March 2021 - statistics All news for
26.04.2021
Argentina. Wheat production is estimated at 20.5 million tons in 2021/2022 >

11.04.2024  
23:48 U.S. Soybean Meal Exports Forecast at Consecutive Records in 2022/23 and 2023/24
23:10 EU Wheat Exports Challenged by Russias Growing Dominance
11:30 Country of origin of honey must be clearly visible on the label. EU honey traceability system to be developed
10.04.2024  
15:59 Commission starts setting up the Agriculture and Food Chain Observatory
15:33 Commission approves 2.2 billion German State aid scheme to support the decarbonisation of industrial processes to foster the transition to a net-zero economy
13:17 Donau Soja urges EU for clarity on EUDR implementation
09.04.2024  
10:44 Ukraine remained the third source of EU imports in 2023, with a value of EUR 11.8 billion
06.04.2024  
10:04 World cereal output seen up in 2023/24
09:55 FAO Food Price Index rises in March
05.04.2024  
10:04 Shellfish Crop Insurance Program Offers Oyster Producers Needed Protection from Environmental Challenges and More
03.04.2024  
23:01 Croatian horseradish root Ludbreški hren' added to register of Protected Designations of Origin
02.04.2024  
10:15 FAO and chef Fatmata Binta announce new project to empower women fonio producers in Ghana
28.03.2024  
12:55 Council compromise on Ukraine ATMs Only a half step forward in the right direction
09:18 Commission approves amendment to Italian State aid scheme to support companies in Friuli Venezia Giulia in the context of Russia's war against Ukraine
26.03.2024  
10:55 Projected famine in Gaza: FAO urges immediate access to deliver urgent and critical assistance at scale. About 1.1 million people are experiencing catastrophic food insecurity
08:44 EU makes major step forward in the delivery of 2024 humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza*
25.03.2024  
16:17 Commission approves 86.9 million Bulgarian State aid scheme to support farmers in the context of Russia's war against Ukraine
21.03.2024  
11:15 Commission takes action to boost biotechnology and biomanufacturing in the EU
20.03.2024  
11:13 Deal to extend trade support for Ukraine with safeguards for EU farmers
19.03.2024  
09:43 CAP - The Commission proposes simplifications that safeguard agricultural transitions!
18.03.2024  
23:10 The European Union and Switzerland launch negotiations to deepen bilateral relations
10:05 Commission proposes targeted review of Common Agricultural Policy to support EU farmers
15.03.2024  
23:36 Cargill Power CanolaTM Program Helps Farmers Take Advantage of Growing Bioenergy Market Opportunities for Canadian Canola
23:19 FAO will provide Ukrainian farmers with soybean and sunflower seeds for spring sowing campaign
13.03.2024  
23:27 FAO urges more cooperation in banana sector, significant for some least developed and low-income food-deficit countries and smallholder farmers
16:51 The European Commission sets out key steps for managing climate risks to protect people and prosperity
12.03.2024  
20:25 Coreper and COMENVI approve the provisional agreement on EU Carbon Removal Certification Framework
20:24 INTA MEPs fail EU producers by dismissing potential improvements to Ukraine ATMs
08:10 Soybean meal is expected to be a more competitive feed ingredient on higher global supplies.
11.03.2024  
09:11 U.S. Corn Exports Shift Destinations as Brazil Captures China Market
08.03.2024  
15:20 Conflicts push acute food insecurity higher
13:21 FAO Food Price Index declines further in February
13:14 Packaging: Council and Parliament strike a deal to make packaging more sustainable and reduce packaging waste in the EU
11:45 Commission approves 61.3 million Bulgarian State aid scheme to support farmers, producers of grain and oil crops, in the context of Russia's war against Ukraine
07.03.2024  
20:41 First go-ahead to renewing trade support for Ukraine and Moldova
05.03.2024  
15:55 Commission proposes to prolong road transport agreements with Ukraine and Moldova and introduces updates to the agreement with Ukraine
02.03.2024  
07:31 Heroes of deserts and highlands: Nourishing people and culture
23.02.2024  
10:21 BASFs financial strength supports proposed stable dividend of 3.40 per share for the 2023 business year
10:17 The Council has chosen to ignore farmers' concerns regarding Ukraine ATMs; it is now imperative for the European Parliament to take action
20.02.2024  
20:27 South Asia is anticipated to import nearly 14 million tons wheat in 2023/24
19.02.2024  
13:00 Cargill and ENOUGH expand partnership to provide consumers with innovative, sustainable protein options
17.02.2024  
17:47 Global Environment Facility approves new FAO-led projects and programs benefiting 46 countries
16.02.2024  
09:10 The EU is at a crossroads with the Ukrainian agricultural issue - COPA-COGECA, AVES, CEFS, CEPM, CIBE, EUWEP
13.02.2024  
17:31 European farmers exempted from rules on land lying fallow
12.02.2024  
16:45 India Wheat Stocks Plummet to Lowest in 15 Years
03.02.2024  
17:35 Mandarins. Global production for 2023/24 is forecast to rise to 38.0 million tons
09:59 Record cereal output in 2023
07:15 FAO Food Price Index down again in January led by lower wheat and maize prices
29.01.2024  
10:32 President von der Leyen launches Strategic Dialogue on the Future of EU Agriculture
26.01.2024  
11:31 Record Exports Forecast for Egypt Oranges

Also available: 


NewsNews - News - News - News - News - News
BriefWeekly Reports - Free article
SubscriptionTariff - News&Reports
AdvertisingMagazine - Site
ConferencesForum AGRO-2013 - DAIRY WORLD-2008 - FERTILIZERS-2010
Statistics
For our clientsAgroNewsDaily - Ukrainian Grain&Oilseed Market - Fertilizers - Milk Monthly - Milk Weekly
About usAbout project - Contact
2002 -2024 © Agrarika, ltd.
tel.: +380 67 4473802; +380 67 5964652
e-mail: client@agroperspectiva.com