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Analysis of farming systems

A farming system is defined as a population of individual farm systems that have broadly similar resource bases, enterprise patterns, household livelihoods and constraints, and for which similar development strategies and interventions would be appropriate. Depending on the scale of the analysis, a farming system can encompass a few dozen or many millions of households.

The classification of the farming systems of developing regions has been based on the following criteria:

  • available natural resource base, including water, land, grazing areas and forest; climate, of which altitude is one important determinant; landscape, including slope; farm size, tenure and organization; and


  • dominant pattern of farm activities and household livelihoods, including field crops, livestock, trees, aquaculture, hunting and gathering, processing and off-farm activities; and taking into account the main technologies used, which determine the intensity of production and integration of crops, livestock and other activities.

Description of farming systems by region:

Sub-Saharan Africa

Middle East and North Africa

Eastern Europe and Central Asia

South Asia

East Asia and Pacific

Latin America and Caribbean


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