3. We’re fast losing farms and farmers in many places, while big farms are getting bigger
One major reason why small farms are disappearing is the rapid growth of monoculture plantations. In the last 50 years, 140 million hectares – well more than all the farmland in China – have been taken over for soybean, oil palm, rapeseed and sugar cane alone.
4. Small farmers continue to be the major food producers in the world
By definition, peasant agriculture prioritises food production for local and national markets as well as for farmers’ own families – not commodities or export crops. GRAIN compiled staggering statistics that show how, even with so little land, small farms produce the bulk of many countries’ food supply.
5. Small farms are technically more productive than big farms
Industrial farms have enormous power, clout and resources, but small farms almost everywhere out-perform big farms in terms of productivity. If all of Kenya’s farms matched the output of its small farms, the nation’s agricultural productivity would double. In Central America, it would nearly triple. If Russia’s big farms were as productive as its small ones, output would increase by a factor of six.
6. Majority of small farmers are women, yet their contributions are unrecognised and marginalised
Women’s immense contribution to farming and food production is not captured in official statistics and they are discriminated against when it comes to controlling land in most countries.
The report is accompanied by illustrative maps and a fully-referenced dataset. Available for download at: http://www.grain.org/article/entries/4929
Source: GRAIN & La Vía Campesina.