(Ecofin Agency) - Small-scale farmers supply about 35% of the global agricultural production on about 12% of the total farmland. The figures were featured in a new study by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) titled "Which farms feed the world and has farmland become more concentrated?”
The document says the contribution of small farms (size less than 2ha) to global production significantly varies across the world. For example, in China, small farms’ contribution to global production is 80%, 47% in India, 5% in Nigeria, and 1% in Brazil.
While small farms and family farms are generally seen to be the same, the authors of the report point out a difference between the two. While the majority of family farms are small, they occupy 70 to 80% of farmland and produce 80% of the world's food volume in terms of value, which is far more than small farms.
"It is important to avoid using the terms family farm and small farm interchangeably because while the majority of family farms are small, some are large or very large," says Marco Sánchez, deputy director of FAO's Agro-Food Economics Division and co-author of the paper.
FAO says farm size varies according to the average income level of the country and is not necessarily related to crop types. “The farmland share represented by the larger cohorts would seem to increase with each income category. For example, farms greater than five hectares in size cover 28% of the farmland in low-income countries, nearly 40% in the lower-middle-income countries, 85% in the upper-middle-income countries, and nearly 99% in the high-income countries,” the document says.