The importance of smallholders and family farmers
A factsheet produced by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) highlights the importance of smallholders and family farmers. Eighty percent of the farmland in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia is managed by smallholders (working on up to 10 hectares). While 75 percent of the world’s food is generated from only 12 plants and 5 animal species, making the global food system highly vulnerable to shocks, biodiversity is key to smallholder systems who keep many climate-resilient varieties and breeds alive.
According to the FAO, smallholders provide up to 80 percent of the food supply in Asian and Sub-Saharan Africa. Evidence increasingly shows that smallholders can be really productive. In particular, women, who comprise an average of 43 percent of the agricultural labour force of developing countries, and up to almost 50 percent in Eastern and Southeastern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, are drivers of change. Should they have the same access to productive resources as men, it is estimated that women farmers could increase yields on their farms by 20-30 percent.
factsheet is available at: http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/nr/sustainability_pathways