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Topic: Land Tenure

Second HLPE Consultation on Land Tenure and International Investments in Agriculture

The thirty-sixth session of Committee on World Food Security asked the newly created High Level Panel of Experts to undertake a study on aligning international agricultural investment with food security concerns.  We invite you to comment on the Version 0 draft of the document.

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19.05.2011 - 02.06.2011
How can women's land rights be secured?

How can women's land rights be secured?

Despite women’s critical role and contribution to agriculture and food security, their ability to access land and other natural resources is weakened by their status within their community and by discriminatory customary or statutory laws. What can be done about it? What are examples of policies and tools that promote women's land rights?

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23.01.2012 - 05.02.2012

“Latifundia” and foreign ownership of land

by Annalisa Melandri

“Latifundia” (very large land properties) and foreign ownership of land are two threats to food security. How do International Organizations approach the subject and what measures can be taken?

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What do we really know about the number and distribution of farms and family farms in the world?

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.