Food Tank by the Numbers:

International Year of Family Farming

Danielle Nierenberg (President of Food Tank: The Food Think Tank), Cortney Ahern, and Eve Andrews authored this report. Food Tank would also like to thank research interns Nicole Meier, Katherine Theiss, Will Thomas, and Delaney Workman for their assistance with this project. Food Tank is honored to be working with our colleagues at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, including Caterina Batello, Benjamin Graub, and Barbara Herren. We are thrilled for this opportunity to celebrate the International Year of Family Farming in 2014. And finally, we’re grateful for the farmers we’ve met and interviewed–from India, Ghana, and Ethiopia to the United States, Brazil, and Indonesia. Their work in fields, forests, rivers, kitchens, boardrooms, parliaments, and laboratories is helping nourish both people and the planet.




The United Nations has designated 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming, and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has been announced as the coordinating agency of the year.i This will help bring attention to the importance of family farmers, including smallholder farmers, and their role in helping to nourish the world.ii The celebration is also aptly timed: the global population is expected to reach more than nine billion people by the year 2050, and nearly 900 million people go to bed hungry every night.iii, iv The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has estimated that family farmers around the world are already relied upon to produce a large share of the food supply in developing countries, which is where most of the global population growth is expected over the coming decades.v,vi In order to feed the growing population, experts from the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) recognize that the

world will not only need to increase agricultural production, but to engage in agricultural practices that are more efficient and environmentally sustainable.vii According to FAO, there are more than 500 million family farmers around the world, contributing to the livelihoods of more than two billion people.viii Of the world’s farms — less than two hectares in size — China accounts for almost 200 million farms and India, 117 million.ix, x Family farming also makes up the majority of agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa, where approximately 33 million farms in the region, or 80 percent, are smallholder farms.xi According to IFAD estimates, more than 80 percent of all agricultural holdings measuring less than two hectares in size and are thus managed by smallholder farmers. (See Figure 1.) Also, against earlier predictions by many experts, small farms are actually getting more numerous.xii 2


South America All developing countries

A GRI C ULTURAL HOLDINGS All other countries
DESCRIPTION AFRICA (SUBSAHARAN) Average size of agricultural holdings (ha) % of all agricultural holdings < 2 ha 1

Comparison of Units Sold by Year


World 0














Average size of agricultural holdings (ha)

% of all agricultural holdings < 2 ha

Africa (sub-Saharan) Near East and North Africa Asia (developing) Pacific (developing) Central America and the Caribbean South America All developing countries All other countries World 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90

1 Average size of agricultural holdings (ha)

% of all agricultural holdings < 2 ha

Figure 1: Cross-Country Comparison: Average Size of Agriculture Holdings and Percentage of Agriculture Holdings Less Than Two Hectaresxiii

Farmers around the world are facing increasingly constrained resources: farming already accounts for approximately 70 percent of global freshwater withdrawal. In Central and South Asia, around 90 percent of water is used for agriculture. Globally, soil is being eroded 10 to 40 times faster than it is being replenished.xiv, xv As a result of the last 40 years of erosion, 30 percent of global arable land has become unproductive.xvi Whereas large commercial farms tend to be predominant in high potential yield areas, smallholder farmers and family farmers are often the stewards of marginal lands, and use their knowledge and abilities to sustain production under challenging circumstances.xvii Not only are smallholder farmers in a unique position to contribute to the global food supply, but empowering smallholder and family farmers is a vital step toward improving nutrition, increasing incomes, protecting and enhancing biodiversity, enhancing soil quality, conserving water, and mitigating and adapting to climate change. 3




“All farmers can have a direct impact on nutrition through the crops that they choose to grow and consume...”



Equally important as the goal of feeding the world is the necessity of growing more nutrient-dense crops. Unfortunately improving nutrition has, ironically, not been an explicit goal of agricultural strategies for global food security over the past five decades. But there has been a heightened interest in recent years in using agriculture to maximize nutritional impact.xviii Initiatives such as the Scaling Up Nutrition movement and the 1,000 Days Coalition are drawing attention to the importance of nutrition, particularly for pregnant women and children, and successfully integrating nutrition into the broader food security conversation. The social entrepreneurship organization Ashoka Changemakers is also rallying around the importance of nutrition by launching the Nutrients for All: Vitality for People and the Planet initiative — innovators, social entrepreneurs, and thought leaders are creating projects and initiatives to tackle malnutrition and obesity. All farmers can have a direct impact on nutrition through the crops that they choose to grow and consume, as well as through post-harvest and preparation methods. Indeed, increasing the production of nutrient-dense foods on family farms has been identified by Action contre la Faim, a French NGO, as a key practice for increasing nutrition and food security, particularly locally adapted varieties rich in protein and micronutrients. FAO has noted that “specific interventions aimed at diversifying what farmers produce and what food households have access to (e.g. through home gardens or raising small animals) can contribute to better nutrition.”xix Analysis from FAO also reveals that most of the smallholder farms that have been successful in increasing consumption of nutrient-dense foods have done so through the production of diverse crops, as opposed to producing a single crop.xx Home gardens exemplify this success, providing a diversity of crops, a balanced diet, and high nutritional value to households. Traditionally, in many parts of the world, women are responsible for managing the family gardens.xxi Empowering women to choose varieties of nutrient-dense crops for their gardens can have a critical and direct impact on improving nutrition. Home gardens can also safeguard biological diversity, including many nutritious crops, as well as birds, insects, and other wildlife.xxii Smallholders can also contribute to the quality of the food supply through proper post-harvest activities. In developing countries in Eastern and Southern Africa, 13.5 percent of the total value of grain produced is lost due to during poor post-harvest and processing practices, due in no small part to government investment in infrastructure and lack of access to markets.xxiii Inadequate handling and storage can also cause the loss of valuable micronutrients. In Africa alone, enough grain is lost each year to feed 48 million people.xxiv By decreasing nutrient losses in the post-harvest and storage phases, there is enormous potential for smallholders to maximize nutrient density for their families and communities.




According to FAO, approximately 75 percent of plant genetic resources have disappeared, and an additional third of the crop biodiversity that currently exists could disappear by 2050.xxv Studies from Bioversity International and FAO show that smallholder farmers utilize farming practices that preserve biodiversity - not just for its own sake - but also because cultivating a wide variety of species helps insulate farmers against the risk of plant disease, and crop diversity promotes soil health and increases yields.xxvi In addition, utilizing integrated farming systems, in which a smallholder farmer produces grains, fruits and vegetables, and animal products, can be between four and ten times more productive than large-scale, monoculture operations.xxvii Yield advantages for polyculture operations — farms growing multiple crops in the same space — are between 20 and 60 percent.xxviii Utilizing indigenous crop varieties can be an important strategy for all types of farmers. FAO notes that traditional farmers have implemented indigenous and heterogeneous crop varieties such as tools to recover from natural disasters like flooding or drought.xxix IFAD estimates that there are 350 million smallholder farmers globally who are Indigenous Peoples, and that these farmers are more likely to cultivate a variety of traditional or indigenous crops and Diversified and indigenous crops are typically more resilient to climate change and extreme weather conditions.xxxi For example, when the southwestern region of China suffered widespread drought in 2010, most of the introduced, modern crop varieties died off, while most of the indigenous crops survived.xxxii Another Chinese study published in Nature in 2000 found that four different heterogeneous mixtures of rice seedlings yielded 89 percent more and suffered 44 percent less blast incidence than homogeneous plantings.xxii Furthermore, research from the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) shows that indigenous strains of barley yield between 25 and 61 percent more than introduced strains under stressful conditions.xxxiv Diversification of crop species has the potential to protect incomes by insulating smallholder farmers against the risk of low crop yields caused by climate change and land degradation.xxxv Furthermore, a diversity of crops attracts pollinators such as bees, birds, and bats, which contributes significantly to the yields of 75 percent of the leading food crops worldwide.xxxvi These species depend on the availability of a diversity of crops to pollinate, and suffer in monoculture systems.xxxvii Preserving traditional knowledge of a variety of crops also utilizes the power of genetic biodiversity against the spread of disease and pests. Rice across South Asia was threatened by a virus in the 1970s, but the extensive availability of more than 17,000 species of rice that had been preserved by communities allowed for researchers to identify a single variety that possessed resistance to the virus.xxxviii

“Utilizing indigenous crop varieties can be an important strategy for all types of farmers.”
Growing diversified and indigenous crops also requires traditional knowledge, which is inherently linked to the culture and environment of communities where crops are grown. However, farmers around the world have been abandoning traditional crops, and the invaluable knowledge that accompanies growing them, in favor of producing more economically lucrative crops. But there are unique benefits to growing a diverse range of traditional crops: farmers ensure economic stability throughout the year by selling crops at different times, rather than relying on one traditional harvest; and growing diverse and traditional crops encourages community cohesion by interacting in regular market trade with each other and providing opportunities to discuss innovation and crop management strategies.xxxix One initiative in Bolivia called “Jatun Sach’a,” (which means “Big Tree” in Quechua, an indigenous language of Bolivia) works with female entrepreneurs to conserve and market native and indigenous varieties of plants. The women have been able to use a range of products, such as yucca and majo, to create organic products and local dishes. The project has already benefited 4,200 families in its initial phase, and hopes to reach more than 12,000 families in the next phase.xl






Smallholder and family farmers are well positioned to be stewards of natural resources such as soil and water. Smallholders have intimate knowledge of their landscapes and local environmental conditions, and with adequate support and resources, could help to transform agricultural practices toward more sustainable methods.xli Compared with larger mechanized and fossil input-dependent farms, smallholder farmers rely less on fossil fuels and produce fewer emissions. Well-managed smallholder systems can also improve water filtration by building up soil biomass and enhancing soil health.xlii Soil degradation has been a particularly formidable factor in the stagnation of agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa, contributing to declines of over 40 percent of yields in some sub-Saharan African countries.xliii Furthermore, small farms in developing countries often suffer the consequences of soil erosion more severely than others. “In developing countries, soil erosion is particularly severe on small farms that are often located on marginal lands where the soil quality is poor and the topography is frequently steep.”xliv The U.N. Environment Programme estimates that the decline in agricultural production for all of Africa hovers around 8 percent.xlv The average crop loss due to nutrient depletion in soil is 42 tons per hectare per year, a figure that could increase to 300 tons in the most severe cases.xlvi In West Africa, soil erosion and nutrient loss is a common byproduct of farming practices that were sustainable under lower population pressures – such as intermittent fallowing of land to restore fertility. With more pressure on land, the time for fallowing has fallen to unsustainably short periods, insufficient to restore soils.xlvii The use of organic fertilizers, however, has been proven to be effective in reducing soil degradation. In a study conducted by Wageningen University in Gagnoa, Ivory Coast, researchers observed that maize yields dropped to approximately 20 percent of their original level with no additional nutrient inputs in the soil. With heavy use of mineral and organic fertilizer yield levels were sustained.xlviii

It should be noted, however, that the incorporation of organic material is often essential to maintain soil health, with or without mineral fertilizers. While effective in maintaining yield levels, the process of rehabilitating soils that have become degraded often requires substantial investment. Because there has been little public investment in soil rehabilitation in sub-Saharan Africa, and smallholder farmers cannot afford to undertake the process themselves, many farmers are trapped in a poverty cycle of low yields due to poor soil quality.xlix Agriculture is responsible for 70 percent of global freshwater use worldwide.l Furthermore, agricultural water use is expected to increase by approximately 19 percent by Climate change is also responsible for decreasing rainfall levels, less reliable patterns of precipitation, and more common extreme weather events. For example, in the Sahel region of Africa, rainfall levels have declined by 20-40 percent in recent decades.lii Farmers in the Dogon Plateau of Mali experience drought periods with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius and evaporation rates of 250 millimeters per month.liii Africa’s 33 million smallholder farmers largely utilize lowresource agriculture techniques.liv In Burkina Faso and Mali, farmers have resorted to using an old water harvesting system called zai. Zai utilizes pits carved out of rock-hard land about 20 to 30 centimeters deep and filled with organic matter to attract insects that break up the soil. Farmers use anywhere from 9,000 to 18,000 pits per hectare. Yields obtained on fields managed with zai are consistently higher (ranging from 870 to 1,590 kilograms per hectare) than those without (ranging 500-800 kilograms per hectare.)lv Zai water retention techniques are now used on 200,000 to 300,000 hectares in Burkina Faso.lvi Innovative technologies are also helping sub-Saharan African farmers conserve water resources. In Benin, solar-powered drip irrigation pumps conserve water while producing up to two tons of produce per land plot.lvii Drip irrigation methods can save between 30 and 60 percent more water than conservative methods.lviii




Table 1:

Increasing Yields and Incomes and Protecting the Environment
Year of Inception Name of Practice Geographical Location Area of Environmental Conservation Yield Increase/Results



Rice-Duck Farming


Soil Health, Pest Control

Raising ducks on paddy increased yields by 20%; Increased net income by 80%6


Soil and Water Conservation - Zai

Burkina Faso

Soil Health, Erosion, Water

Rehabilitation of 200,000 300,000 hectares of land. Production of add’l 80,000 tonnes food/year1


Fertilization Tree System


Soil Health

Net profit increased from US$130 to US$309 per hectare3


Agroforestry Tree Domestication Projects International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology


Soil Health, Tree Domestication

Crop yields increase 100 - 200%2



Soil Health, Pest Mangement

Increased maize production from below 1t/ha to ~ 3.5t/ha4


Nitrogen-Fixing Trees in Agroforestry System


Water Retention, Land Use, Diversification

Increased yields from 1t/ha to 2 or 3t/ha5


System of Rice Intensification


Lessen Fertilizers and Pesticides, Water Retention

Increase of rice yields from 30-150%. Reduced amount of seeds by 50-70%. Increased rice production from 3.82 million tons in 2002 to 7.97 million tons in 2010.

The table above shows a comparison of different projects and initiatives across countries that are increasing yields while practicing sustainable agricultural methods and environmental conservation.* (Source: See Endnote)




Climate Change
Over the last several years, smallholder farmers have been hit hard as a result of increasingly extreme weather events. Unfortunately, future projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicate that climate change and its attendant depletion of water resources may have disproportionately adverse effects on communities in the arid and semi-arid tropics, as well as the megadelta regions of Asia and Africa. lxviii This phenomenon will have severe consequences for global food production, as a study by the Center for Global Development and the Peterson Institute for International Economics indicates that climate change could lower agricultural productivity by as much as 28 percent in Africa and 16 percent globally by 2080.lxix There is evidence, however, that smallholder and family farming can be the key to mitigation of the negative effects of climate change and improving food insecurity. Specifically, adoption of sustainable techniques such as aquaculture, integrated pest management, and agroforestry have led to yield increases of more than five million additional tons of African food production, according to studies published in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability and the Agricultural Systems Journal.lxx, lxxi Another report suggests that if 10,000 small- and medium-sized farms converted to organic, sustainable production, the environmental effect in terms of carbon sequestration would be equivalent to removing over one million cars from the road.lxxii According to Oxfam America, smallholder farmers are responsible for managing some of the most vulnerable soils in the world, but the environmental benefits created by smallholder farmers are not yet valued in markets.lxxiii Smallholder farmers are also taking the initiative and preparing for natural disasters. In one case study, researchers from Economic Research Southern Africa found that farmers in Tanzania have already recognized patterns in temperature changes that predict drought, and responded with increased production of short-season crops, drought-resistant crops, increased irrigation, alternate planting dates, and increased tree planting to mitigate the crisis potential of climate change.lxxiv Further research into predictive weather patterns, and how farmers can observe and use them, could be beneficial in helping farmers prepare for natural disasters brought on by climate change. In addition, climate change does not discriminate based on income level or agricultural advancement. The drought that hit the United States in 2012 was the most extensive in the nation since 1956, causing 80 percent of agricultural land to experience low rainfall and high temperatures. Corn yields were reduced 27 percent, and soybean yields 14 percent. Furthermore, the quality of these crops was significantly diminished – 50 percent of corn was rated poor or very poor.lxxv The 2013 Economic Report of the President expressed concern that “…while the effects of climate change on livestock and crop production systems are expected to be mixed in the next 25 years, over the long term, continued changes are expected to have generally detrimental effects on most crops and livestock.”lxxvi 9




It is a cruel reality that the very people the world relies on to produce food – smallholder farmers–are also among the poorest and hungriest people in the world. According to the U.N. Millennium Project Task Force, an estimated half of the world’s hungry live in smallholder farming families.lxxvii Seventy percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas.lxxviii In most rural areas, particularly in developing countries, agriculture alone often does not provide sufficient income to support a family. In the United States, farming households depend on off-farm income for between 85 and 95 percent of household income.lxxix Of countries included in the Rural Income Generating Activities database, IFAD found that 30 to 60 percent of households depended on at least two sources of income to make up 75 percent of total income.lxxx (See Figure 2.) Providing the tools and education for smallholder farmers to increase the production of nutritious food has the potential to significantly raise their incomes. The One Acre Fund is working with more than 130,000 farmers in Africa to provide training, financing, and extension services that are doubling farmers’ incomes.lxxxii These benefits extend beyond farming families alone. For example, in Asia, every American dollar generated from the farming sector also creates an additional US$0.80 in the non-farming sectors.lxxxiii A common barrier to increasing incomes for smallholder farmers is inaccessible or unclear land ownership regulations. Initiatives to protect land ownership rights have been shown to stimulate market participation in several countries. A study undertaken by the School of Economics at the University of Manchester found that secure land ownership rights significantly and positively affected the market participation and rice productivity of smallholder farmers in Cambodia.lxxxiv In Vietnam, land tenure reforms that provided private land use rights to smallholder farmers – even though plots could be no larger than three hectares in some regions – had a significant and positive effect on agricultural productivity, as well as increasing household incomes.lxxxv


100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30

Figure 2: Percentage of Households Dependent on Off-Farm Activities for more than 75 Percent of Total Household Incomelxxxi

20 10 0

Sub-Saharan Africa


Latin America




In addition to investing in infrastructure, environmentally sustainable farming methods have been shown to reduce production costs and increase yields, further bolstering the incomes of smallholder farmers. The Boyolali district of Central Java, Indonesia measures 101,510 hectares, 41 percent of which is devoted to rice production. Eighteen percent of the farmers who work on this land use organic practices, producing approximately 60,000 tons of organic rice per year. The Boyolali farmers’ association, Asosiasi Petani Padi Organik Boyolali [APPOLI], has shown a 40 percent reduction in production costs due to organic farming practices. Furthermore, the market price of organic rice is 20 percent higher than non-organic or conventional rice. Both factors contribute an increased profit margin for organic rice farmers.lxxxviii Investment in organic agriculture for smallholders can significantly increase national incomes in the agriculture sector. During an investment project undertaken by the Swedish International Development Aid organization (SIDA) to certify organic farmers in Uganda, for example, the value of organic crops for export increased from US$22 million in 2008 to US$35 million in 2010.lxxxix As rural populations transition to urbanization, smallholder farmers’ access to urban markets is crucial. Farming cooperative systems, which negotiate contracts with distributors, have proven effective in providing rural smallholder farmers with access to customers in urban areas. An International Food Policy Research Institute case study in India found that farmers contracted through cooperative systems had lower production costs (21 percent less for milk and 26 percent less for vegetables) and lower transaction costs than non-contract farmers. Dairy farmers contracted through cooperative systems showed a net profit approximately 200 percent greater, on average, than their non-contract counterparts.xc Mobile phone technology has also been instrumental in breaking down barriers that smallholder, rural farmers face in accessing markets. Mobile applications such as Intuit Fasal in India and SokoniSMS64 in Kenya provide smallholder farmers with data about market prices. Digital Green, an information and communication technology company based in India, provides video-based agricultural extension training to more than 130,000 farmers, 70 percent of whom are women. After being implemented for eight months in villages in Orissa, the Digital Green system resulted in an average increase in cumulative income of US$242 per farmer in the first year.xci

In the MERCOSUR region of Latin America, family farmers produce an average of 26.4 percent of the region’s gross agricultural production.lxxxvii (See Figure 2.) The Petrolina-Juazeiro initiative in northeastern Brazil has succeeded in increasing rural incomes by providing family farmers with access to land and infrastructure. A public corporation, São Francisco Valley Development Agency (Companhia de Desenvolvimento do Vale de São Francisco) (CODEVASF), funded the irrigation of 46,000 hectares to turn this area into farmland for high-value crops. They allocated land to approximately 2,200 smallholder farmers, with a 15-year deferred payment plan. Agricultural firms contracted these farmers, in addition to over 100,000 wage workers, and their incomes were significantly higher than the regional average.lxxxvi




“Smallholder and family farming
can be the key to mitigation of negative effects of climate change and

improving food insecurity.”



Social Stability Impacts of

Smallholder Farming

All population growth over the next 40 years is predicted to occur in urban areas.xcii According to the United Nations, urbanization rates are expected to increase to 70 percent by 2050, and Africa and Asia will experience the largest growth in urban populations.xciii Fourteen million Africans are moving to cities each year, a migration that is second only to the massive rural to urban shift happening in China. Increased urbanization will impact the agricultural sector significantly—not only do many smallholder farmers migrate to cities looking for non-farm work, but as large cities expand their size they may encroach on bordering farmland as well.

Creating rural employment opportunities both on and off the farm will be essential to reducing rural poverty and securing productive livelihoods for all rural households, including smallholder and family farmers, and also help to prevent the “urbanization of poverty,” according to FAO.xcvii And a recent Oxfam report suggests that supporting rural economies and creating more equal land distribution among farmers can create higher economic growth, but also that the economic growth achieved is actually more beneficial to the poorest people.xcviii Small farmers also create a “multiplier” effect that extends beyond the farm sector. Small farmers spend a high share of their income in other sectors, including construction, infrastructure, and manufacturing, which creates demand for other goods and sectors in their communities.xcix Agriculture has tremendous potential for creating economic and social stability in rural communities, as well as the economic stability of nations as a whole. In fact, research by Steven Haggblade, Peter Hazell, and Paul Dorosh suggests that there are especially strong growth linkages between agricultural growth and overall development in countries where smallholder agriculture is dominant.c According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, agriculture is one of the top industries in Africa for the creation of at least 54 million stable, wage-paying jobs between now and 2020. Additionally, agriculture remains the sector that employs the most people in Africa, at 49 percent of the The Committee on World Food Security convened a High Level Panel of Experts to provide scientific and knowledge-based policy recommendations for investing in smallholder agriculture for food security. Their June 2013 report states: “…Smallholder agriculture, adequately supported by policy and public investments, has the capacity to contribute effectively to food security, food sovereignty, and substantially and significantly to economic growth, the generation of employment, poverty reduction, the emancipation of neglected and marginalized groups, and the reduction of spatial and socio-economic inequalities.”cii

“Agriculture has tremendous potential for creating economic and social stability in rural communities...”
Many rural farming communities have an unbalanced population structure due to the migration of people looking for off-farm work. Factors like low land productivity and limited rural job opportunities are “pushing” mainly young men to look for work elsewhere. In addition, urban industry, higher return on education, and public goods are “pulling” people to cities. This migration often leaves the women, children, and elderly back on the farms to manage crops and depend on the yield from harvest to harvest for food.xciv Despite this urban demographic shift, researchers at the World Bank suggest that the majority of the population of sub-Saharan Africa will be rural until mid-2030, and that 330 million youth will enter the labor market in the next 15 years, 195 million of whom will come from the rural sector.xcv, xcvi




Despite the growth of commercial farms around the world, smallholder and family farming still make up the majority of global agriculture. With adequate research, attention, investment, and market access, the enormous knowledge and potential of smallholder and family farmers can be utilized to help nourish a global population quickly approaching nine billion. However, family farmers face multiple challenges: the emphasis on starchy staple crops, low and decreasing incomes, limited access to infrastructure, decreasing biodiversity, degradation of natural resources, and the increasing threat of climate change. But there are innovative solutions to these challenges – promoting sustainable agriculture methods, assisting family farmers in adapting to climate change and short-term climate variability, promoting policies to provide smallholder farmers with legal rights to land, facilitating access to markets and infrastructure, and providing women farmers with inputs equal to those of their male counterparts. By directing investment and research toward these solutions, research institutions, private businesses, and the donor community can give family farmers the platform they need to provide food for a rapidly changing world. 14



i ii

World Rural Forum. “Family Farming Campaign.” Viewed 23 February 2014. While there are approximately 36 commonly used definitions of what constitutes a family farm, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization defines family farming as those farmers who have limited access to capital resources (such as land or financial resources), are primarily involved not only in management but day-to-day farm tasks, and that agriculture is their primary source of income. See: Garner, Elisabeth and Ana Paula de la O, “Identifying the ‘Family Farm:’ An Informal Discussion of The Concepts and Definitions” (Rome: FAO, Gender, Equity and Rural Employment Division) ESWSeminar.pdf. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision. (New York: United Nations 2013) xv. U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP), and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012. Economic growth is necessary but not sufficient to accelerate reduction of hunger and malnutrition. (Rome: FAO 2012) 8. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), Smallholders, food security and the environment. (Rome: IFAD 2013) 11. United Nations Population Fund. “Linking Population, Poverty and Development.” Viewed 23 February 2014, International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development. Agriculture at a Crossroads: Synthesis Report. (IAASTD 2009) 3. Synthesis%20Report%20(English).pdf. FAO, International Year of Family Farming, “Main Messages,” at, viewed February 23rd, 2014. High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security. Investing in smallholder agriculture for food security. (Rome: HLPE 2013) 12. Investing_in_smallholder_agriculture.pdf. Agriculture Census Division of the Department of Agriculture & Co-operation. Agriculture Census 2010-11: All India Report on Number and Area of Operational Holdings. (New Delhi: Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India 2012) templates/ess/ess_test_folder/World_Census_Agriculture/Country_info_2010/Reports/Reports_3/IND_ENG_REP_2011.pdf. Altieri, M. and Koohafkan, P. Enduring Farms: Climate Change, Smallholders and Traditional Farming Communities. (Penang, Malaysia: Third World Network 2008) 18. Hazell, P. Five Big Questions about Five Hundred Million Small Farms. (Rome: IFAD Conference on New Directions for Smallholder Agriculture, 24-25 January, 2011) 1. FAO. 2000 World Census of Agriculture. (Rome: FAO 2010) World Water Assessment Programme. The United Nations World Water Development Report 4: Managing Water under Uncertainty and Risk. (Paris: UNESCO 2012) 3. Pimentel, D. “Soil Erosion: A Food and Environmental Threat,” in Springer ed. Environment, Development and Sustainability. (Cornell University 2006) 119-137. Pimentel, “Soil Erosion: A Food and Environmental Threat,” 123. Ibid., 123. FAO. Synthesis of Guiding Principles on Agriculture Programming for Nutrition. (Rome: FAO February 2013) 1. fsnforum/post2015/sites/post2015/files/resources/Brochure_AgNut_GuidingPrinciples.pdf. FAO. The State of Food and Agriculture 2013: Food Systems for Better Nutrition. (Rome: 2013) 30. FAO, Synthesis of Guiding Principles on Agriculture Programming for Nutrition, 14. FAO. “Women Feed the World.” Viewed 23 February 2014. FAO. Gardens of Biodiversity: Conservation of genetic resources and their use in traditional food production systems by small farmers of the Southern Caucasus. (Rome: FAO 2010). The World Bank, National Resources Institute and FAO. Missing Food: The Case of Postharvest Grain Losses in Sub-Saharan Africa. (Washington, D.C.: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank 2011) xii. Ibid., 20. FAO. “Save and Grow: A policymaker’s guide to the sustainable intensification of smallholder crop production.” Viewed 23 February 2014, Haizer, R., D. Jarvis and B. Gemmill-Herren. “The utility of crop genetic diversity in maintaining ecosystem services.” Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 123, 2008: 261-270.











xiii xiv










xxiv xxv





Holt-Gimenez, E. and A. Shattuck. “Smallholder Solutions to Hunger, Poverty and Climate Change.” (Oakland, CA: Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy 2009) 15. FAO and the Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research. Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture: Contributing to food security and sustainability in a changing world. (Rome: FAO and the Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research 14-16 April 2011) 26. IFAD and UNEP, Smallholders, food security and the environment, 10. Ibid., 17. Swiderska, K., Song, Y., Li, J., Reid, H. and Mutta, D. “Adapting agriculture with traditional knowledge.” IIED Briefing Papers. (London: International Institute for Environment and Development 2011) 2.

xxviii xxix

Ibid., 15.




xxxiii xxxiv

Zhu, Y. et al., “Genetic diversity and disease control in rice,” Nature, 406(6797) August 2000. 718-722. Ceccarelli, S. “Positive interpretation of genotype by environment interactions in relation to sustainability and biodiversity,” in Cooper and Hammer eds. Plant Adaptation and Crop Improvement, (Oxon, UK: CAB International 1996). IFAD and UNEP, Smallholders, food security and the environment, 17. FAO and UNEP. Progress on the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators. (Hyderabad: FAO Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity October 8-19, 2012) 3. information/cop-11-inf-29-en.pdf. Ibid., 14. Brian Halweil and Danielle Nierenberg, “Charting a New Path to Alleviating Hunger,” Worldwatch Institute, State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, (Washington DC: Worldwatch Institute 2011). United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. “Jatun Sach’a – benefiting thousands of farmers’ families in Bolivia.” January 2012. IFAD and UNEP, Smallholders, food security and the environment, 7. FAO. “Sustainable Pathways: Smallholders and Family Farmers.” Factsheet_SMALLHOLDERS.pdf. U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP). The environmental food crisis – The environment’s role in averting future food crises: A UNEP rapid response assessment. (Rome: U.N. Environment Programme, GRID-Arendal 2009) 42. Pimentel, “Soil Erosion: A Food and Environmental Threat,” 123. UNEP, The environmental food crisis, 42. Ibid., 42. Bunch, R. Restoring the Soil: A Guide for Using Green Manure/Cover Crops to Improve the Food Security of Smallholder Farmers. (Winnipeg: Canadian Foodgrains Bank Incorporated 2012). Tittonell, P. and K. Giller, “When yield gaps are poverty traps: The paradigm of African smallholder agriculture.” Field Crops Research. March 2013. 76-90. Ibid., 77. FAO. “Aquastat.” Viewed 23 February 2014. UN World Water Day. “Facts and Figures.” Viewed 23 July 2013. facts-and-figures/en. Altieri and Koohafkan, Enduring Farms: Climate Change, Smallholders and Traditional Farming Communities, 38. Ibid., 49. Ibid., 49. Ibid., 49. FAO. ‘Climate-Smart’ Agriculture: Policies, Practices and Financing for Food Security, Adaptation and Mitigation. (Rome: FAO 2010) 2. Solar Electric Light Fund. SELF 2011 Annual Report. (Washington, D.C.: SELF 2011) 3. FAO. “Spotlight: Improving irrigation technology.” 2003. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Climate Change and Water. (Geneva: IPCC Secretariat 2008) 3. Cline, W. Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country. (Washington, D.C.: Center for Global Development and Peterson





xxxix xl

Ibid., 74.




xliv xlv




xlix l



liii liv lv








Institute for International Economics 2007).

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 Komba, Coretha and Edwin Muchapondwa, “Adaptation to Climate Change by Smallholder Farmers in Tanzania,” (Cape Town: Economic Research Southern Africa 2012) The U.S. Council of Economic Advisers. 2013 Economic Report of the President. (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office 2013) 238. Ibid., 237-238.








UN Millennium Project Task Force on Hunger, Halving Hunger: It Can Be Done (New York: United Nations Development Program 2005) 6. IFAD. IFAD 2011 Rural Poverty Report. (Rome: IFAD 2011) 16. United States Department of Agriculture. “Farm Family Income.” Farm Bill Forum Summary & Background. IFAD, IFAD 2011 Rural Poverty Report, 54-55. Ibid., 54-55.

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One Acre Fund. “Program Model.” Viewed 23 February 2014. Department for International Development. Growth and poverty reduction: the role of agriculture. (London: DFID 2005) 15. Azam, S., I. Katshushi , and R. Gaiha. Agricultural Supply Response and Smallholders Market Participation: The Case of Cambodia. (Kobe, Japan: Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration 2012)




Kirk, M. and D. Nguyen. Land-Tenure Policy Reforms: Decollectivization and the Doi Moi System in Vietnam. (Washington DC: IFPRI 2009). Berdegué, J. and R. Fuentealba, “Latin America: The State of Smallholders in Agriculture,” prepared for the Conference on New Directions for Smallholder Agriculture, (Rome: IFAD 2011) 25. Márquez, S. and A. Ramos. Differential Policies for Family Farming in MERCOSUR. (Rome: IFAD) roundtables/pl/pl_bg_e.pdf. Hansen-Kuhn, Agroecology and Advocacy: Innovations in Asia, 23-24.



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Auerbach, R., G. Rundgren and N. El-Hage Scialabba. Organic agriculture: African experiences in resilience and sustainability. (Rome: FAO 2013) 28. Birthal, Pratap, P.K. Joshi and A. Gulati. Vertical Coordination in High-Value Food Commodities: Implications for Smallholders. (Rome: IFPRI 2005) Digital Green, Annual Report 2010-2011. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Urbanization Prospects: The 2007 Revision. (New York: United Nations 2008) 1. Ibid., 2. Smale and Alpert, Making Investments in Poor Farmers Pay, 20. Losch, B., S. Fréguin-Gresh, and E. White. Structural Transformation and Rural Change Revisited: Challenges for Late Developing Countries in a Globalizing World. (Washington, D.C.: World Bank 2012) 68. WDSP/IB/2012/07/13/000333038_20120713023756/Rendered/PDF/709850PUB0EPI0070063B09780821395127.pdf. Ibid., 2. FAO. “Empowering the Small-holders.” Viewed 23 July 2013.




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Wegner, L. and G. Zwart. Who Will Feed the World?: The production challenge. (Washington, D.C.: Oxfam 2011), 20. Ibid, 23.





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