As the world moves towards large-scale plantation agriculture, it's crucial poor countries protect small farmers to meet the food needs of a growing global population, says the first The Lancet Planetary Health issue featuring Bioversity International's Jessica Fanzo and Roseline Remans.
As reported by Reuters Africa, "More than half of the world's food is produced by small and medium farmers, particularly in Africa and Asia, said researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia.
While large-scale plantation agriculture is expanding, small farms with less than 20 hectares of land should be protected because they produce more diverse and nutritious food, the study said.
"It is vital that we protect and support small farms and more diverse agriculture so as to ensure sustainable and nutritional food production," Mario Herrero, the study's lead author, said in a statement.
"Large farms, in contrast are less diverse."
- Learn more about why it is not just about feeding people but nourishing them by reading Institute on the Environment's Environment Reports blog Small Farms: Stewards of Global Nutrition?
- Jessica Fanzo's article From big to small: the significance of smallholder farms in the global food system
- Roseline Reman's co-authored article Farming and the geography of nutrient production for human use: a transdisciplinary analysis
Photo: Smallholder farmers in a field in Bihar, India. Credit: Bioversity International/C. Zanzanaini