Bioversity International: research for development in agricultural and tree biodiversity

Small farms are essential for food security, study says

13 Apr 2017

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."

Photo: Smallholder farmers in a field in Bihar, India. Credit: Bioversity International/C. Zanzanaini