Social protection has risen rapidly up the development policy agenda in the last decade. Although increasingly dominated by conditional and unconditional cash transfer programmes, the wide range of instruments that aim to alleviate poverty and manage livelihood risks often have direct, intended implications for food security.
Agriculture and food systems face the challenge of meeting the growing demand for more and higher quality food, but also of doing so in a way that is sustainable, equitable and meets the nutritional needs and preferences of consumers. How should we move ahead to make sure that agriculture and food systems are up to this task?
My name is Salomeyesudas and I work as an independent consultant for several organizations in Tamil Nadu, India. Currently I am working on a research paper on public food systems for the Dhan Foundation.
In spite of the many public food distribution systems, India is facing nutritional emergencies and the prevalence of malnutrition remains very high.
One of the reasons is that food schemes are mainly based on the distribution of the energy-rich cereals wheat and rice but do not take the nutritional value of into account.
I would like to explore whether the introduction of different crops such as millets into the distribution system could yield improved nutritional outcomes.
In addition to case studies and example from India, I would be very grateful to receive information on other South Asian countries, such as Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The agricultural economics literature provides various estimates of the number of farms and small farms in the world. This paper is an effort to provide a more complete and up to date as well as carefully documented estimate of the total number of farms in the world, as well as by region and level of income.
It uses data from numerous rounds of the World Census of Agriculture, the only dataset available which allows the user to gain a complete picture of the total number of farms globally and at the country level. The paper provides estimates of the number of family farms, the number of farms by size as well as the distribution of farmland by farm size.
These estimates find that: there are at least 570 million farms worldwide, of which more than 500 million can be considered family farms. Most of the world’s farms are very small, with more than 475 million farms being less than 2 hectares in size. Although the vast majority of the world’s farms are smaller than 2 hectares, they operate only a small share of the world’s farmland. Farmland distribution would seem quite unequal at the global level, but it is less so in low- and lower-middle-income countries as well as in some regional groups.
These estimates have serious limitations and the collection of more up-to-date agricultural census data, including data on farmland distribution is essential to our having a more representative picture of the number of farms, the number of family farms and farm size as well as farmland distribution worldwide.