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The Multiple Functions and Benefits of Small Farm Agriculture in the Context of Global Trade Negotiations

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Abstract

Peter Rosset challenges the conventional wisdom that small farms are backward and unproductive. Using evidence from southern and northern countries he demonstrates that small farms are ‘multi-functional’ – more productive, more efficient, and able to contribute more to economic development than large farms. He analyses the threats posed to small farmers by today's trade liberalization and concludes with a call to unite against an Agreement on Agriculture that might make their continued existence impossible.Development (2000) 43, 77–82. doi:10.1057/palgrave.development.1110149
The Multiple Functions and Benefits of
Small Farm Agriculture in the Context of
Global Trade Negotiations1
In praise of small farms
For more than a century mainstream economists in both capitalist and social-
ist countries have confidently and enthusiastically predicted the demise of the
small, family farm. Small farms have time and again been labelled as backward,
unproductive and inefficient – an obstacle to be overcome in the process of econ-
omic development. The American model of large scale, mechanized, corporate
agriculture is held out as the best, if not the only, way to feed the world’s popu-
lation. Small farmers – or ‘peasants’ – have been expected to go the way of the
dinosaurs.
The conventional wisdom about small farms needs to be challenged. Their
‘multi-functional’ character makes them more productive, more efficient, and
enables them to contribute more to economic development than large farms.
Small farmers make better stewards of natural resources, conserving biodiver-
sity and better safeguarding the sustainability of production.
The ongoing process of trade liberalization – now being taken a step further
in the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations for the Agreement on
Agriculture (AoA) – has already had dramatically negative effects on small
Development. Copyright © 2000 The Society for International Development. SAGE Publications
(London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi), 1011-6370 (200006) 43:2; 77–82; 012995.
Special Section on Food Security
PETER ROSSET ABSTRACT Peter Rosset challenges the conventional wisdom that
small farms are backward and unproductive. Using evidence from
southern and northern countries he demonstrates that small farms
are ‘multi-functional’ – more productive, more efficient, and able to
contribute more to economic development than large farms. He
analyses the threats posed to small farmers by today’s trade
liberalization and concludes with a call to unite against an
Agreement on Agriculture that might make their continued
existence impossible.
KEYWORDS biodiversity; environment; food security; liberalization;
social justice
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME
13 – Rosset 26/4/00 2:38 pm Page 77
farmers everywhere. The AoA has the potential to
severely undercut the remaining viability of small
farm production, with potentially devastating con-
sequences for rural economies and environments
worldwide. It is now time to act in support of the
small farm model of rural development.
Small farm virtues in the US
Although rural–urban migration has driven small
farmers out of rural America by the millions,
family farmers do still persist in the US and con-
tinue to be numerically dominant. Policy changes
are necessitated to take advantage of small farms’
potential dynamism. According to the United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA, 1998),
the public value of small farms includes:
Diversity. Small farms embody a diversity of
ownership, cropping systems, landscapes, bio-
logical organization, culture and traditions. A
varied farm structure contributes to biodiversity
and a diverse and esthetically pleasing rural
landscape.
Environmental benefits. Responsible manage-
ment of the natural resources of soil, water, and
wildlife on the 60 percent of all US farms less
than 180 acres in size, produces significant
environmental benefits for society. Investment in
the viability of these operations will yield divi-
dends in the stewardship of the nation’s natural
resources.
Empowerment and community responsibility.
Decentralized land ownership produces more
equitable economic opportunity for people in
rural areas, as well as greater social capital. This
can provide a greater sense of personal responsi-
bility and feeling of control over one’s life,
characteristics that are not as readily available to
factory line workers. Landowners who rely on
local businesses and services for their needs are
more likely to have a stake in the well-being of
the community and the well-being of its citizens.
In turn, local landowners are more likely to be
held accountable for any negative actions that
harm the community.
Places for families. Family farms can be nurtur-
ing places for children to grow up and acquire
values. The skills of farming are passed from one
generation to another under family ownership
structures.
Personal connection to food. Most consumers
have little connection to agriculture and food
production. As a consequence, they have little
connection with nature, and lack an appreci-
ation for farming as cultivation of the earth for
the production of food that sustains us. Through
farmers’ markets, community supported agri-
culture, and the direct marketing strategies of
small farmers, consumers are beginning to
connect with the people growing their food, and
with food itself as a product of a farmer’s cooper-
ation with nature.
Economic foundations. In various states and
regions of the US, small farms are vital to the
economy.
The USDA Commission on Small Farms concludes
with a powerful call to change the policies that have
favoured large, corporate-style farms for so very
long, with hideous costs to rural communities and
the environment.
Virtues of the small farm in the
South
A similar pattern holds in the South, where policies
promoting large farm export agriculture have
increasingly eroded the viability of small farms,
despite the many benefits small scale production of
food offer.
In traditional farming communities the family
farm is central to maintaining community and to
the sustainability of agricultural production. On
the small farm, productive activities, labour mobil-
ization, consumption patterns, ecological know-
ledge and common interests in long-term
maintenance of the farm as a resource contribute
to a stable and lasting economic and family-based
enterprise. Work quality, management, knowledge
and relationships are intertwinned and mutually
reinforcing. Short-term gain at the risk of degrad-
ing essential resources not only invites community
sanction, but also places the family and the farm at
risk of collapse. Family farmers regularly achieve
higher and more dependable production from their
land than do larger farms operating in similar
environments. Labour intensive practices such as
Development 43(2): Special Section on Food Security
78
13 – Rosset 26/4/00 2:38 pm Page 78
manuring, limited tillage, ridging, terracing, com-
posting organic matter, and recycling plant prod-
ucts into the productive process enhance soil
conservation and fertility (Netting, 1993).
The durability of small farm production is clear in
its historical and spatial ubiquity: small farms exist
in all environments, in all political and economic
contexts, in all historical periods over the last 5000
years, and in every known cultural area where
crops can be grown. Small farmers have developed
and use a variety of technologies, crops, and
farming systems. Perhaps most important in an era
of diminishing non-renewable resources, small
farmers frequently produce with minimal recourse
to expensive external inputs (Netting, 1993).
According to the Food and Agriculture Organiz-
ation (FAO) of the United Nations (1999), we must
value the multiple functions of farms in the Third
World if we are to achieve a sustainable agriculture
and which is not just a means to obtain more food
and income, in socially acceptable ways which do
not degrade the environment. Rather, sustainable
land use should be an opportunity to improve the
quality of the environment, including its physical
(increased soil fertility, better quality air and
water), biological (healthier and more diverse
animal, plant, and human populations), and social,
economic and institutional (greater social equity,
cohesion, peace/stability, well-being) components.
Small farm productivity
How many times have we heard that large farms
are more productive than small farms, and that we
need to consolidate land holdings to take advantage
of that greater productivity and efficiency? The
actual data shows the opposite – small farms
produce far more per acre or hectare than large
farms.
One reason for the low levels of production on
large farms is that they tend to be monocultures.
The highest yield of a single crop is often obtained
by planting it alone on a field. But while that may
produce a lot of one crop, it generates nothing else
of use to the farmer. In fact, the bare ground
between crop rows invites weed infestation. The
weeds then invest labour in weeding or money in
herbicide.
Large farmers tend to plant monocultures
because they are the simplest to manage with
heavy machinery. Small farmers, especially in the
Third World, are much more likely to plant crop
mixtures – intercropping – where the empty space
between the rows is occupied by other crops. They
usually combine or rotate crops and livestock, with
manure serving to replenish soil fertility.
Such integrated farming systems produce far
more per unit area than do monocultures. This
holds true whether we are talking about an indus-
trial country like the United States, or any country
in the South. In all cases, relatively smaller farm
sizes are much more productive per unit area – 200
to 1000 percent more productive – than are larger
ones. In the United States the smallest farms, those
of 27 acres or less, have more than 10 times greater
dollar output per acre than larger farms. While in
the US this is largely because smaller farms tend to
specialize in high value crops like vegetables and
flowers, it also reflects relatively more attention
devoted to the farm, and more diverse farming
systems.
Small farms and economic
development
More bushels of grain is not the only goal of most
farm production; farm resources must also gener-
ate wealth for the overall improvement of rural life
– including better housing, education, health ser-
vices, transportation, local business diversification,
and more recreational and cultural opportunities.
In the United States, the question was asked
more than a half-century ago: what does the
growth of large-scale, industrial agriculture mean
for rural towns and communities (Goldschmidt,
1978)? In farming communities dominated by
large corporate farms, nearby towns died off. Mech-
anization meant fewer local people were employed,
and absentee ownership meant farm families them-
selves were no longer to be found. In these corpor-
ate-farm towns, the income earned in agriculture
was drained off into larger cities to support distant
enterprises, while in towns surrounded by family
farms the income circulated among local business
establishments, generating jobs and community
prosperity. Where family farms predominated,
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79
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Development 43(2): Special Section on Food Security
80
there were more local businesses, paved streets and
sidewalks, schools, parks, churches, clubs, and
newspapers, better services, higher employment,
and more civic participation. Recent studies
confirm that Goldschmidt’s findings remain true.
If we turn toward the Third World we find similar
local benefits to be derived from a small farm
economy. The Landless Workers Movement (MST)
is a grassroots organization in Brazil that helps
landless labourers to organize occupations of idle
land belonging to wealthy landlords. When the
movement began in the mid-1980s, the mostly
conservative mayors of rural towns were violently
opposed to MST land occupations in surrounding
areas. In recent times, their attitude has changed.
Most of their towns are very depressed economi-
cally, and occupations can give local economies a
much needed boost. Typical occupations consist of
1000 to 3000 families, who turn idle land into pro-
ductive farms. They sell their produce in the
market-places of the local towns and buy their sup-
plies from local merchants.
Not surprisingly, those towns with nearby MST
settlements are better off economically than other
similar towns, and many mayors now actually peti-
tion the MST to carry out occupations near their
towns. Local and regional economic development
benefits from a small farm economy, as do the life
and prosperity of rural towns. Can we re-create a
small farm economy in places where it has been
lost, to improve the well-being of the poor?
Recreating a small farm economy
Recent history shows that the re-distribution of
land to landless and land-poor rural families can be
a very effective way to improve rural well-being. We
can examine the outcome of land reform pro-
grammes carried out in the Third World since
World War II, being careful to distinguish between
genuine land reforms – when quality land was
really distributed to the poor and the power of the
rural oligarchy to distort and ‘capture’ policies was
broken – and ‘fake land reforms’ – when the poor
have been relegated to the poorest, most remote
soils. In every case of genuine land reform, real,
measurable poverty reduction and improvement in
human welfare has invariably been the result.
Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Cuba, and China are
all good examples. In contrast, countries with
reforms that gave only poor quality land to ben-
eficiaries, and/or failed to alter the rural power
structures that work against the poor, failed to
make a major dent in rural poverty. Mexico and the
Philippines are typical cases of the latter.
More recently IBASE, a research centre in Brazil,
studied the impact on government coffers of legaliz-
ing MST-style land occupations cum settlements
versus the services used by equal numbers of people
migrating to urban areas. When the landless poor
occupy land and force the government to legalize
their holdings, it implies costs: compensation of the
former landowner, legal expenses, credit for the new
farmers, and others. Nevertheless the total cost to
the state to maintain the same number of people in
an urban shanty town – including the services and
infrastructure they use – exceeds in just one month
the yearly cost of legalizing land occupations.
Another way of looking at it is in terms of the
cost of creating a new job. Estimates of the cost of
creating a job in the commercial sector of Brazil
range from two to 20 times more than the cost of
establishing an unemployed head of household on
farm land, through agrarian reform. Land reform
beneficiaries in Brazil have an annual income
equivalent to 3.7 minimum wages, while still land-
less labourers average only 0.7 of the minimum.
Infant mortality among families of beneficiaries
has dropped to only half of the national average.
This provides a powerful argument that using land
reform to create a small farm economy is not only
good for local economic development, but is also
more effective social policy than allowing business-
as-usual to keep driving the poor out of rural areas
and into burgeoning cities.
Good stewards of natural
resources
The benefits of small farms extend into the ecologi-
cal sphere. Where large, industrial-style farms
impose a scorched-earth mentality on resource
management – no trees, no wildlife, endless mono-
cultures – small farmers can be very effective stew-
ards of natural resources and the soil. To begin with,
small farmers utilize a broad array of resources and
13 – Rosset 26/4/00 2:38 pm Page 80
have a vested interest in their sustainability. Their
farming systems are diverse, incorporating and pre-
serving significant functional biodiversity within
the farm. By preserving biodiversity, open space,
and trees, and by reducing land degradation, small
farms provide valuable ecosystem services to the
larger society. In the United States, small farmers
devote 17 percent of their area to woodlands, com-
pared to only 5 percent on large farms, and keep
nearly twice as much of their land in ‘soil improving
uses’, including cover crops and green manures. In
the Third World, peasant farmers show a tremen-
dous ability to prevent and even reverse land degra-
dation, including soil erosion. Compared to the
ecological wasteland of a modern export plan-
tation, the small farm landscape contains a myriad
array of biodiversity. The forested areas from which
wild foods and leaf litter are extracted, the wood lot,
the farm itself with intercropping, agroforestry, and
large and small livestock, the fish pond, the back-
yard garden, allow for the preservation of hundreds
if not thousands of wild and cultivated species.
Simultaneously, the commitment of family
members to maintaining soil fertility on the family
farm means an active interest in long-term sustain-
ability not found on large farms owned by absentee
investors.
Free trade threatens small farm
agriculture
Despite decades of anti-small farm policies taken by
nation states (Lappé et al., 1998), small farmers
have clung to the soil in amazing numbers. But
today we stand at a crossroads. Trade liberalization
– the move toward global free trade policies – poses
a grave threat to the continued existence of small
farms throughout the world. Over the past couple
of decades southern countries have been encour-
aged, cajoled, threatened, and generally pressured
into unilaterally reducing the level of protection
offered to their domestic food producers in the face
of well-financed foreign competitors. Through par-
ticipation in GATT, NAFTA, the World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund and the World Trade
Organization, they have reduced or in some cases
eliminated tariffs, quotas and other barriers to
unlimited imports of food products (Bello et al.,
1999). On the face of it, this might sound like a
good thing. After all, more food imports might
make food cheaper in poor, hungry countries, and
thus make it easier for the poor to obtain enough to
eat. However, the experiences of many countries
suggest that there are downsides to these policies
which may outweigh the potential benefits.
Typically, southern economies have been inun-
dated with cheap food coming from the major grain
exporting countries. For a variety of reasons (sub-
sidies, both hidden and open, industrialized pro-
duction, etc.) this food is more often than not put on
the international market at prices below the local
cost of production. That drives down the prices that
local farmers receive for what they produce, with
two related effects, both of which are negative
(Lappé et al., 1998).
First, a sudden drop in farm prices can drive
already poor, indebted farmers off the land over the
short term. Second, a more subtle effect kicks in. As
crop prices stay low over the medium term, profits
per unit area – per acre or hectare – stay low as well.
That means the minimum number of hectares
needed to support a family rises, contributing to
abandonment of farm land by smaller, poorer
farmers – land which then winds up in the hands of
the larger, better off farmers who can compete in a
low price environment by virtue of having very
many hectares. They overcome the low profit per
hectare trap precisely by owning vast areas which
add up to good profits in total, even if they represent
very little on a per hectare basis. The end result of
both mechanisms is the further concentration of
farm land in the ever fewer hands of the largest
farmers (Lappé et al., 1998).
A penalty is paid for this land concentration in
terms of productivity, as large farmers turn to
monocultures and machines to farm such vast
tracts, and in terms of the environment, as these
large mechanized monocultures come to depend
on agrochemicals. Jobs are lost as machines replace
human labour and draft animals. Rural communi-
ties die out as farmers and farm workers migrate to
cities. Natural resources deteriorate as nobody is
left who cares about them. Finally, food security is
placed in jeopardy: domestic food production falls
in the face of cheap imports; land that was once
used to grow food is placed into production of
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Development 43(2): Special Section on Food Security
82
export crops for distant markets; people now
depend on money, rather than land, to feed them-
selves; and fluctuations in employment, wages and
world food prices can drive millions into hunger.
In the context of today’s trade liberalization, it is
crucial to underline that agriculture produces not
only commodities, but also livelihoods, cultures,
ecological services, etc., and as such, the products
of farming cannot be treated in the same way as
other goods.
The Japanese government, in a preparatory
document for the Seattle negotiations, put it this
way (Permanent Mission of Japan, 1999):
The multifunctionality of agriculture has the following
characteristics: (a) Most aspects of multifunctionality
are regarded as economic externalities and it is difficult to
reflect their values properly in market prices. Though it is
closely related to production, it cannot be subject to
trade; (b) Market mechanisms alone cannot lead to the
realization of an agricultural production method that
will embody the multifunctionality of agriculture.
Norway has also endorsed the concept of multi-
functionality as the basis for special treatment of
farming for reasons of environmental protection,
food security and the viability of rural areas
(Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture, 1998), as has
the European Union to some extent (European Com-
mission, 1999), and as have some other countries.
Ignoring the multiple functions of agriculture
has caused untold suffering and ecological destruc-
tion in the past. The time is long overdue to recog-
nize the full range of contributions that agriculture
– and small farms in particular – make to human
societies and to the biosphere. The world’s civil
society should demand that our governments
respect the multi-functionality of agriculture and
grant each country true sovereignty over food and
farming, by stepping back from free trade in agri-
cultural products. Instead of deepening policies
that damage small farms, we should implement
policies to develop small farm economies. These
might include genuine land reforms, tariff protec-
tion for staple foods – so that farmers receive fair
prices – and the reversal of biases in policies for
credit, technology, research, education, subsidies,
taxes and infrastructure which unfairly advance
large farms at the expense of smaller ones. By doing
so we will strike at the root causes of poverty,
hunger, underdevelopment and degradation of
rural ecosystems.
Note
1 This article is a condensed version
of Food First Policy Brief number
4, The Multiple Functions and
Benefits of Small Farm Agriculture
in the Context of Global Trade
Negotiations. The complete policy
brief, also including extensive
bibliographic references, can be
ordered from the Institute or read
at <www.foodfirst.org/pubs/
policybs/pb4.html>
References
Bello, W., Sh. Cunningham and B.
Rau (1999) Dark Victory: The
United States and Global Poverty,
2nd edn. Oakland: Food First
Books.
European Commission (1999) ‘The
EU Approach to the Millennium
Round’. Communication from the
Commission to the Council and to
the European Parliament.
Brussels: European Commission
<http://europa.eu.int/comm/dg01>
Food and Agriculture Organization,
United Nations (FAO) (1999)
Synopsis: The Multiple Roles of
Agriculture and Land. Prepared for
‘Cultivating our Futures:
FAO/Netherlands Conference on
the Multifunctional Character of
Agriculture and Land’. Rome:
Sustainable Development Division
of FAO.
Goldschmidt, W. (1978) As You Sow:
Three Studies in the Social
Consequences of Agribusiness. New
York: Allenheld, Osmun.
Lappé, F.M., J. Collins and P. Rosset,
with L. Esparza (1998) World
Hunger: Twelve Myths, 2nd edn.
New York: Grove Press.
Netting, R. (1993) Smallholders,
Householders: Farm Families and
the Ecology of Intensive, Sustainable
Agriculture. Stanford: Stanford
University Press.
Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture
(1998) Non-Trade Concerns in a
Multifunctional Agriculture –
Implications for Agricultural Policy
and the Multilateral Trading System.
Oslo: Ministry of Agriculture
(ODIN-LD) <http://odin.dep.no/
landbruk/faktorare.html>
Permanent Mission of Japan (1999)
Negotiations on Agriculture:
Communication from Japan.
Geneva: World Trade
Organization. WT/GC/W/220.
USDA (United States Department of
Agriculture) (1998) A Time to Act:
A Report of the USDA National
Commission on Small Farms.
Washington DC: USDA
Miscellaneous Publication 1545.
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... Along these lines, recent research has found that small farms adhering to agroecological principles tend to be more productive than large monoculture farms, when total produce is taken into account (Altieri 2010). Furthermore, there is much evidence that small farmers make better stewards of natural resources, conserving biodiversity and better safeguarding the sustainability of production (see, for example, Bray, Sánchez, and Murphy 2002;Moguel and Toledo 1999;Rosset 2000). ...
... Mendoza (2008) study shows that organic farming could be a more sustainable farming system for cereals and legumes and is relevant to the study since the focus of the food sovereignty will be on the staple food crop value chain. Peter Rosset (1999) ...
... The modern dietary habit of pursuing wellbeing remarkably increased the consumption of leafy vegetables and fruits by 30% between 1980 and 1990, and by 56% between 1990 and 2003 [1]. Among the crops falling under these categories, there are many that are high value-added crops [2]. Nonetheless, these crops need to adjust well to environmental conditions, since the product value and growth development are being changed under different environments [3]. ...
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Recently, the interest in the plant factory-based crop production technologies is rising following the application of the smart farm technology to the agricultural arena. A lettuce production system platform is proposed in this study considering the effects of indoor environmental conditions and artificial light sources. The spectral characteristics of a visible ray according to growth performances were analyzed first to develop a control algorithm that can stimulate the plant’s growth for the proposal. Secondly, an imaging system was designed to analyze the plant’s growth characteristics based on the images and set up the system configuration. Lastly, a crop production system was proposed by using an experimental crop production group for environmental control and monitoring.
... For example, 85% of farms in the world are small (under 2 hectares) but control only 12% of agricultural land worldwide (Lowder et al., 2016), while about 8 out of 10 working poor live in rural areas (International Labour Office, 2012). Even though studies show small farms can be more productive than industrialised farms by a factor of between 2 and 10 (Rosset, 2000;FAO, 2014), there has been systematic underinvestment in smallholder farming. This paradigm can also be observed in Odemira, where the vast majority of the local producers are smallholder or small-scale farmers practising traditional, peasant, and/or family agriculture (PORDATA, 2022). ...
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Farming regions in Europe, particularly in the South, are increasingly feeling the effects of climate change due to factors such as drought, extreme weather events, and desertification, with severe consequences for food security and food sovereignty. Additionally, decades of rural mismanagement have left countless of these farming territories severely depressed as well as at the mercy of competition for their natural resources. This paper presents and discusses the results of a Participatory Rural Appraisal conducted in the region of Odemira, Southwest Portugal. Rooted in the frameworks of agroecology and food democracy, this mixed methodology aims to support people in multiply stressed agro-territories to diagnose the state of their food systems and agroecosystems from a democratic and ecological point of view and engage local actors in imagining fairer and healthier food futures for their regions. Local food actors were invited to identify and qualify the main problems in the region's food systems, complemented by an agroecological assessment of farm production systems. The results of the study confirm the status of Odemira as a depressed and contested agro-territory, whose social, economic, and ecological vulnerability is being compounded by the clash between the model of traditional smallholder farming and that of large-scale intensive agriculture. The study also shows the potential of sustainable farming practices as well as collaboration between the different food actors to support an agroecological transition in the region. However, to jointly realise food democracy and food system sustainability, the tensions resulting from the current political support for hyper-industrialisation and the lack of democratic, institutional, and legal mechanisms available to local actors will need to be addressed head-on.
... Clearly, such approaches are likely to underestimate (or overestimate) farm efficiency, particularly in areas that are characterized by mixed farming, i.e., simultaneous production of crops, vegetables and fruits, as well as animal husbandry. In this regard Rosset (2000) demonstrated evidently that small farms, often characterized by land fragmented, are more productive, more efficient and able to contribute more to economic development than large farms if efficiency measurement involves total output than a single crop, namely, the output of all crops on a designated plot-including various grains, fruits, vegetables, fodder and animal production. Di concluded that farm fragmentation is positively correlated with the number of crops (farm-biodiversity) which, in turn, is positively correlated with farm profitability. ...
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The adoption of Sustainable Land Management (SLM) depends, among others, on land fragmentation and soil characteristics. From the factors, land fragmentation is a worldwide trait that result from various institutional, political, historical, and sociological factors which influence farmers perceptionperception on SLM practice. Henceforth, this study was carried out to investigate the effects of land fragmentation and land quality on Sustainable Land Management (SLM) in the upper Lake Tana basin of Dera Woreda. Data on land fragmentation were collected using GPS and GIS tools, and a survey was conducted on 194 farm households, 1,059 parcels, and FGD to secure data on socioeconomic issues and insight of respondents on land fragmentation and associated variable. Simple descriptive and inferential statistics were applied to analyze socioeconomic, demographic and the perception of farmers about land-related factors. Analysis of land fragmentation using the Simpson index indicated 74%, implying that there is a high degree of land fragmentation in the study area. A multivariate probit (MVP) model was used to analyze the effect of land fragmentation and related factors on the interdependent investment decisions of SLM practices (Bunds, Manure, permanent erosion control and chemical fertilizer) using a multiple household level survey. The MVP model analysis indicates that farmers use two or more practices at plot level by considering substitution and complementarity effects of the practices. The results also revealed how land quality (e.g., slope and soil depth), land fragmentation (Simpson index, parcel size and distance from homestead) influence farmers’ investments in SLM practices. The overall results indicate that farm land fragmentation hinders SLM investments, and land quality parameters also improve or hinder the decisions about investments. Policy makers should consider these various land associated factors in designing and implementing SLM policies and programs.
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This article explores household-level social dynamics of change and their causal effects on future agricultural practices and food security. It does this by employing a place-specific qualitative research methodology in two rural settlements in Shamva District, Mashonaland Central Province. It reveals how these changes have impacted negatively on farm households’ command of assets, including draft power, labour and social networks. Households that had a long history of agricultural excellence started to experience declines in their agriculture, while new households encountered new vulnerabilities. The article concludes by cautioning against any policy that ignores the household as a production unit in Zimbabwe’s agriculture.
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У роботі обґрунтовано доцільність розвитку коротких ланцюгів постачання на місцевому рівні. Установлено, що такий підхід забезпечує стійкість розвитку сільської території, зокрема сприяє: соціальній взаємодії, розвитку громади, здоров’ю та добробуту населення, сільському розвитку й економічному відродженню, досягненню економічних вигод фермерськими господарствами, зменшенню споживання енергії та викидів вуглекислого газу, сталості агросистеми.
Chapter
Urban Agriculture (UA)—a system of growing foods within and around the city areas using available non-commercial, commercial, and hybrid technologies—is an emerging approach in the recent development of agriculture and food systems. UA has substantial social, economic, and environmental wellbeing outcomes with broader policy implications for sustainable urban development, which is confronted with the challenge of feeding the rapidly growing urban population in developing countries. Given its potential benefits, this chapter investigates how can this be realized in Nepal’s context for the welfare of society and sustainable development. It particularly focusses on the policy agenda that is required for this realization. Rapid rural–urban migration and increased trends of urbanization have made UA an essential approach to meet the growing demand of healthy, diversified, fresh and quality food. It uses multidimensional and multifunctional approaches to farming through the fusion of traditional and modern technologies. For the realization of its benefits, it is important to investigate the wellbeing dimensions of UA and how these dimensions are related to achieving sustainable development goals by making cities and communities sustainable, minimizing hunger and adapting to climate change. This chapter concludes that the selection of proper indicators, formulation of robust policy and program, development of institutional and human resources, and coordination among multiple jurisdictions should be the major actions for optimum wellbeing from UA practices in Nepal, which we believe could also apply to other developing countries with similar context.
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The book examines some of the underlying assumptions people have about world hunger's causes and cures. It is argued that it is not natural disaster, overpopulation, or lack of fertile land that create hunger. It is suggested that the solution to this problem has to come from a combination of, and better understanding of the causes as well as changes in the social and policital attitudes of people towards both food and hunger. -E.Santos
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Bello, W., Sh. Cunningham and B. Rau (1999) Dark Victory: The United States and Global Poverty, 2nd edn. Oakland: Food First Books.
United Nations (FAO) (1999) Synopsis: The Multiple Roles of Agriculture and Land. Prepared for 'Cultivating our Futures: FAO/Netherlands Conference on the Multifunctional Character of Agriculture and Land
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Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations (FAO) (1999) Synopsis: The Multiple Roles of Agriculture and Land. Prepared for 'Cultivating our Futures: FAO/Netherlands Conference on the Multifunctional Character of Agriculture and Land'. Rome: Sustainable Development Division of FAO.