Government and policymakers the world over have been advised to re-strategize national policies to help farmers attain their potentials, given the role played by smallholder farmers in the economy.
A Development and Commodities Report released by the United Nations’ Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva, Switzerland emphasized that it is essential that the potential of smallholder farmers be harnessed for sustainable development.
The report emphasized that globally, smallholder farmers produced more than 80 per cent of the world’s foods in terms of value, yet make use of only 12 per cent of agricultural land.The report stated that it will take a fresh look at how policies are created and coordinated in order to cater to the farmers’ needs, considering the fact that global poverty affects smallholder farmers, resulting in shortfalls in poverty reduction goals.
Although there are differences by country and region in the size of small farms, research findings suggest that more than 90 percent of the 570 million farms across the world are run by an individual or a family, and they rely mostly on family labour.
Further research showed that about 2.5 billion people depend on agricultural production for their living.The report also said that smallholder farmers play a vital role in environmental objectives, including climate change mitigation, by protecting biodiversity in agriculture.
UNCTAD Secretary-General, Mukhisa Kituyi, stated in the report that: “It is now time for the international community to identify the key role smallholder farmers play the world over in ensuring access to nutritious natural food and the global food security achievement.”