23 May 2016
The world’s small farmers, numbering in billions, risk losing their livelihoods to urban growth and climate change. Despite the grave challenges they face, small farmers can make the quantum leap into productivity if good sense in business and policy prevail.
Inadequate rural development has left more than 2.5 billion people – the majority of them small farmers with plots less than two hectares – out of economic growth. Their plight is characterised by poor access to proper land holdings, technology, credit, professional services, economies of scale and modern supply chains.
Despite the odds, small farmers contribute around half the world’s food; that figure increases to 80 per cent in Asia. Besides feeding themselves, Asian small farmers have substantially contributed to exports of rice, fish, fruit, sugar, coffee and dairy, which have enriched the region. As yields in developed countries stagnate and climate change threatens resource availability, development practitioners are turning to the productivity potential of small farmers as a beacon of hope for tomorrow’s global food security.
… Manda Foo is a Research Associate in the National Institute of Education (NIE). Paul Teng is Professor and Principal Officer, NIE, and Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS Centre), S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.
NTS Centre / Online
Last updated on 24/05/2016