Fruit and Vegetables: opportunities and challenges for small-scale sustainable farming

This publication offers guidance to small-scale farmers when starting-up or expanding fruit and vegetable production.

The report Fruit and Vegetables: opportunities and challenges for small-scale sustainable farming was launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD) in September 2021.

The vast diversity of fruit and vegetable crop species and their varieties offer numerous opportunities for small-scale farmers to produce nutritious and high-value crops in their rural, peri-urban and urban environment, using relatively small areas of land.

Market liberalisation and growth in international trade have created export opportunities for the horticultural sector in many countries. In parallel, rapid urbanisation and income growth have led to increased consumption of horticultural produce, thereby expanding opportunities for small-scale producers and other stakeholders in horticultural food systems. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), empowering small-scale farmers in low-middle-income countries to increase their production of safe and nutritious fruit and vegetables in ways that protect the environment, generate income and create social equity is a priority.

The publication is based on proven, practical experiences and highlights 14 case studies from around the world. These include the grafting technique applied to vegetables in Viet Nam to prevent bacterial wilt and to tolerate flooding of tomatoes, successful agro-forestry systems in Brazil's Amazonian region, the use of biological techniques to control fruit flies on the island of Réunion and the acquisition and management of big data to help small-scale mango farmers in Senegal.

Challenges posed by the perishability of fruit and vegetables are addressed in the book with examples of appropriate technologies for the production and post-harvest management of high quality and safe fruit and vegetables. These in turn provide opportunities for new, off-farm businesses and decent work for advisory, technical, and marketing services and help reduce food losses.

Available in both print and online formats, the book illustrates practical options to ensure sustainable production, stable value chains and dynamic markets, and provides recommendations on how policymakers can create an enabling environment to support food system transformation for a thriving fruit and vegetable sector in their country or region.

(FAO/ile)

Read more and download the report at the FAO website

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