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 > 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 >

18.09.2023  
13:55 Ukraine will sue Poland, Hungary and Slovakia over agricultural bans
15.09.2023  
21:02 Following the expiry of the restrictive measures on Ukrainian exports of grain and other foodstuff to the EU, Ukraine agrees to introduce measures to avoid a renewed surge in EU imports
13.09.2023  
17:54 Biodel AG Secures Series A Investment from Pangaea Ventures to Advance Novel Regenerative Agriculture Technologies
07:25 Rice Export Prices Highest in 15 Years as India Restricts Trade
11.09.2023  
17:54 Export Bans, Black Sea Tensions, Affecting Food Markets - WTO Agriculture and Commodities Division
09.09.2023  
18:36 Global cereal production forecast to match past record - FAO
14.08.2023  
13:22 EBRD provides EUR60 million guarantee to support lending by Ukraines PrivatBank
13:18 Supporting small business in the west of Ukraine via Bank Lviv
12.08.2023  
18:35 Russia Withdraws from Black Sea Grain Initiative
04.08.2023  
19:32 Falling international maize and sugar prices partly offset notable jumps in wheat and vegetable oil quotations
28.07.2023  
19:25 Cargill and partners announce first Gold Standard-approved methane emissions reduction methodology for beef producers
19:21 FAO welcomes European Union contribution of 25 million to advance wildlife conservation and food security
18:55 BASFs earnings in tough market environment significantly below strong prior-year quarter
24.07.2023  
00:45 Brazil continues to make export gains and set new records for beef, pork, and chicken meat
23.07.2023  
22:25 122 million more people pushed into hunger since 2019 due to multiple crises, reveals UN report
22.07.2023  
08:17 U.S. dairy exports to Southeast Asia have been weak to start 2023
13.07.2023  
07:00 Russia Exports Record Wheat Volumes; Ukraine Exports Plummet
08.07.2023  
09:00 FAO Food Price Index continued declining in June
06.07.2023  
20:10 Global agricultural and food production are projected to continue to increase over the next ten years
04.07.2023  
19:54 EBRD supports Ukrainian city of Dnipro with EUR25 million loan
09:03 Nibulon invests EUR 27 mln in construction of granary, flour mill in Izmail
23.06.2023  
08:57 World coffee production for 2023/24 is forecast 4.3 million bags higher than the previous year to 174.3 million
08:55 Mexicos Production Recovering from Coffee Leaf Rust
22.06.2023  
04:05 EBRD and Ukraine government to mobilise 600 million for Ukraine energy security
21.06.2023  
20:26 EBRD and Ukraine government to mobilise EUR600 million for Ukraine energy security
11.06.2023  
15:55 Argentina ramps up soybean imports from Paraguay and Brazil
10.06.2023  
04:35 World Oceans Day must be Humans Day: FAO Fisheries chief
09.06.2023  
11:24 EU extends trade benefits for Ukraine
05.06.2023  
11:25 2023/24 Grain Production Exceeds Consumption
02.06.2023  
11:45 Rebound seen for global cereal output, with worldwide stocks set to hit record levels
11:35 Significant drops in international quotations for wheat, maize, vegetable oils and cheese, while prices of rice, sugar and meat rise
01.06.2023  
11:56 Conflict Drives Acute Hunger in the Democratic Republic of Congo - UN agencies warn
31.05.2023  
12:29 Three New Foods and Their Applicable Food Safety Standards
30.05.2023  
11:55 Haiti: Nearly half of the population is facing acute hunger
11:34 Increasing risk of hunger set to spread in hotspot areas as the Sudan crisis spills over into subregion and el Niño looms - warns new UN report
28.05.2023  
12:51 Black Sea Grain Initiative not fully resumed UN
25.05.2023  
15:52 Ukrainian FM urges African Union to demand that Russia stop obstructing work of grain corridor
20.05.2023  
11:49 Grain initiative talks continue considering proposal of UN Secretary General Dpty Minister of Restoration
05.05.2023  
14:45 The FAO Food Price Index rebounded slightly in April
28.04.2023  
09:15 Yara . 1Q results impacted by falling prices, but tighter nitrogen market into 2Q
21.04.2023  
22:10 Ukraine sees no reason to ban Ukrainian grain imports by EU countries - Solsky
18.04.2023  
21:45 $5 million from FAO-China South-South Cooperation Programme will assist in building more resilient agrifood systems
21:05 China Becomes Worlds Largest Wheat Importer in 2022/23
14.04.2023  
09:52 EBRD and Spain join forces to support Ukraines food security and municipal sector
05.04.2023  
13:10 Astarta starts 2023 planting season
31.03.2023  
00:27 War in Ukraine continues to impact EU farmers
28.03.2023  
22:17 Ukraine sends 150,000 tonnes of wheat to Asia
12:00 Global onion prices are at record-high levels due to a global shortage of onions
12.03.2023  
06:17 It will enrich Egypt if a kilo of onions costs HUF 1,000
10.03.2023  
11:03 Plummeting Argentina Soybean Production Impacts Global Soybean and Products Trade

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 -2023 © Agrarika, ltd.
tel.: +380 67 4473802; +380 67 5964652
e-mail: client@agroperspectiva.com