Small farmers are the future of global food security

Small farmers are the future of global food security
Smallholder farmers have become the most important piece of the global agricultural system. (Photo credit: Joshua Newton).

Small farmers feed close to 80 percent of the total population in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa and support the livelihoods of nearly 2 billion people worldwide.

This community of farmers sit at a critical nexus between survival and global opportunity. With 500 million farm holdings in the developing world, smallholder farmers typically cultivate less than two hectares (4.4 acres) of land for subsistence and earn less than $2 per day. Most smallholder farmers farm out of necessity not opportunity. These are families who have few alternatives except to grow there own food and to sell whatever excess they can.

Although smallholders dominate the production of cocoa and coffee, and play a key role in tea, bananas, and sugar, particularly in Africa, few have the luxury of participating in larger supply chains for cash crops. As these farmers already have access to land, the means of production, and a keen desire for more lucrative crops, marrying their needs with the increasing demand for food could not be more opportune. Global food demand is expected to grow at an astronomical rate – 59 to 98 percent by 2050.

 

This article was published on the Bioeconomic Developments’ blog

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