Smallholders’ global food production underestimated

3C4800485B011F86EAE53B76FD6000BAThe share of farmland cultivated by smallholder farms may be much larger than previously thought, suggesting that their contribution to global food production could be underestimated, a crowdsourcing study reveals.

Previously, smallholder farms — which manage fields less than two hectors in size — were thought to occupy between 12 and 24 per cent of global agricultural land.  But the findings of a study published in Global Change Biology show that smallholder farms cover up to 40 per cent of global farmland.

“We found that in Africa and Asia smallholder farms occupy up to 78 per cent and 72 per cent of total agricultural area respectively,” says Myroslava Lesiv, a co-author of the study and a mathematician in ecosystems services and management at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria.

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