New Directions for Smallholder Agriculture

With timely, individually targeted technical and financial support, small farms in remote areas can become viable small businesses, and key contributors to their countries' food security and long-term development, argues a new publication.

The book ‘New Directions for Smallholder Agriculture’, a collection of papers related to a conference organised by the International Fund for Agricultural Developmen (IFAD), examines small farming communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, many of which are facing similar challenges such as environmental risks, land tenancy disputes, and difficulties with access to credit and markets. 

Yet many of these challenges are being managed in a number of these communities through new forms of self-organisation among small farmers and improved technical and financial support.

Featured contributions by experts show that today's economic environment can be highly challenging for small-scale agriculture. According to the authors, food markets worldwide have become more complex and competitive, driven by rising demand for food, new technologies, and increasingly globalised distribution systems. At the same time, climate change and other sources of environmental degradation are undermining productivity gains by small farmers in many developing countries.

Among the book's highlights are:


  • Strategies to expand successful approaches to boosting small-farm productivity and incomes for the benefit of the millions of small farms worldwide.
  • The perceived inability of Africa's farmers to meet the continent's food needs reflects a widespread but mistaken view of small farmers as passive recipients of technologies, rather than as central, engaged, active players in Africa's agricultural transformation.
  • The requirement of a systematic shift to more intensive production systems so that small farmers in sub-Saharan Africa can potentially profit from rising global food demand.
  • A range of options for small farms in Asia, from contract farming to cooperatives to state-supported marketing to other public-private partnerships, which can improve smallholder economics in an era of globalisation.

More information:Oxford University Press


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