Family farms are the future

| Production & Resources |

According to up-to-date research about family-owned farms, such businesses are very productive and may be able to feed all the people in the world. Their development could be the way to ensure food supply safety for the constantly growing population.

A few figures to start with

It is in China and India where most small (smaller than 2 hectares) farms are found – 200 million and 117 million respectively. Another region with many little farms is Sub-Saharan Africa. 33 million of those constitute 80% of all farmland in the area. Contrary to forecast we heard before, the number of such enterprises in rising on a global scale!

Traditional methods bring effects

Small family-owned farms have the unlikely advantage of limited access to modern farming methods, including new types of cereals. Thanks to using indigenous species of crops and traditional methods, suited to local soil and climate, the farmers are able to continue agricultural production even if the conditions are unfavorable. Additionally, the heterogeneity of crops, which is favored by small farms, is proving more effective than the cultivation of one single type of crops. This was confirmed by Chinese research published in 2000 in Nature magazine. Opting for a number of crops ensures biological diversity, safeguards against plant diseases and improves the quality of soil.

Migration to the cities

The United Nations forecasts that by 2050, c. 70% of the world population will be living in cities. We have already observed massive migration from the countryside. In Africa alone 14 million people move to urban areas each year. Consequently, if we are intent on perpetuating the values and using the benefits from family farms, we need to take care of the development of such entities, which involves providing education for young people in the countryside. If the population in the rural areas begins to age, with the youth having moved to the city, it might prove even more challenging to provide food supply for the world.