Family Farming Knowledge Platform

Smallholders And Family Farming

About 90 percent of the world’s 570 million farms are owned and operated by families. Most are small and are found in the rural areas of the developing world. Many of these smallholder family farmers are poor and food insecure and have limited access to markets and services. Their choices are constrained, but they farm their own land and produce food for a substantial proportion of the world’s population. Besides farming they take on multiple (often informal) economic activities to contribute towards their small incomes. Today, there is a need for a sustainable agriculture in order to tackle the triple challenge of producing more food, creating more jobs and preserving the natural resource base: small family farmers lie at the heart of the solution.

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Helping small family farms tackle today’s challenges
FAO supports small family farmers overcome the many constraints they face and tackle today’s challenges. FAO helps agricultural and rural development policy thinking through analysis and advocacy. Analysis provides evidence on the strengths and weaknesses of small family farms, and advocacy supports policies that address crucial long-term growth challenges in agriculture but also in the wider economy. FAO analyses smallholder family agriculture in the context of rural transformation looking at all aspects of small farmers’ economic lives and how they adjust to and shape a rapidly changing economic environment. FAO assesses farmers’ competitive advantages and their weaknesses. Productivity, assets, access to markets, off-farm employment, poverty and food security and migration, are just some of the issues. FAO also looks at the rising threats to income generation of small family farm households, which are due to climate change. The evolution of the smallholder family farms is closely related to economic growth and FAO’s work helps to formulate policy options that facilitate the transition of small-scale agriculture towards a dynamic sector with a central role in development.

How Small Family Farms link to FAO’s Strategic Framework
FAO’s Small Family Farms’ work is mainly housed under FAO’s Strategic Objective 3: Reduce rural poverty. This area of work also provides regular inputs to FAO flagship publications: The State of Food Insecurity in the World and The State of Food and Agriculture. Furthermore, Small Family Farms’ work supports FAO’s contribution to the Post–2015 Development Agenda and the related indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals. The Small Family Farms’ work has been central in producing the Inter Agency Report for the G20 on Sustainable Productivity Growth and Bridging the Gap for Small Family Farms.

Resources

Low-carbon dairy farm: reducing the climate impact of milk production in the mountains

The Low Carbon Dairy Farm consists of conducting an environmental and technico-economic diagnosis on each farm and identifying potential actions to improve its carbon footprint. The objective is to build a progression strategy in collaboration with the farmer, so that the action plan fits the realities of the farm and...
2021 - Euromontana: the European Association for Mountain Areas
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Network

Vista Volcanes

Farmers' organization
Ante el uso desmedido de insecticidas, Vista Volcanes ofrece una solución que sustituye el uso de insecticidas, mejorando el rendimiento de las cosechas hortícolas y frutales, creando redes sostenibles de pequeños, medianos y grandes productores con una herramienta que protege sus negocios en el corto plazo, y les permite crecer...
Guatemala
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