Ever heard of the phrase “Small-scale producers feed the nation?"
Small scale farming is the backbone of agriculture and food security because it prioritizes food production. It not only feeds families, but also creates jobs and promotes the growth of rural enterprises, especially in the micro and small business sector.
1. Increases Quality and Quality of Food
Agriculture in the suburbs is also important in urban environments where it increases the quantity and quality of food available to people in large cities. We are becoming more and more dependent on small scale farmers. These farmers play an important role in the production of all manner of foods including cereals (millet, rice, corn, etc.), root crops (cassava, yams, etc.), seasonal fruit production, poultry, cattle and fish.
The power of small-scale agriculture speaks to its ability to fuel new economic development and provide food security. Only by having the right production and understanding cultural needs will our communities be productive.
Small-scale agriculture is imperative to meeting the food needs of a future, which promises to have more urban populations with shorter distances between farms and cities.
2. Supports Organic Farming
There is also a need to support organic farming, which means we set a limit on pollution from any synthetic chemicals and use a diverse array of techniques and technologies to increase farm productivity, control pests and disease, and increase yields.
Whether it be intercropping or green manures, these techniques have proven successful time and time again. Subsistence farmers utilize these techniques to produce food for their family and extra produce sold in the market to generate extra income. In doing so they increase yields, diversify their income streams, employ labor opportunities and increase overall profit margins.
3. Feed the Growing World Population
The global population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050 and it will be crucial for the world to find ways to meet the food demand without compromising on quality or quantity. As at September 2022, the world population is at 8 billion people.
Around the world, the need for small-scale agricultural production has been acknowledged by many international organizations and institutions, including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Resources Institute (WRI) etc.
All across the globe, small-scale farming systems have proven their resilience and ability to provide food for local populations. Farmers who grow most of their own food in addition to selling some surpluses are better prepared for unpredictable disasters or market shifts; funds from the sale of surplus produce can be used to provide for emergencies, schooling, healthcare etc.
This is in stark contrast to large-scale monocultures that are designed to send one or two crops to markets hundreds of miles away – crops which might fail without outside aid. This is why we need small-scale agricultural production if we want to both meet food demands and ensure the health and well-being of the global population.
4. Advantages of Small Scale Farming
The advantages of small scale agriculture production are immense. Using locally available farm produce can enable food security efforts in a cost efficient way, especially in areas that lack access to fresh produce for most of the year. Typically, this is done by using on-site processing facilities, which would enable the use of smaller machinery and reduce overall consumption of energy. An added benefit to utilizing this form of agriculture comes from their reduced water consumption, as well as their potential recycling potential.
In a nutshell, the advantages include:
- Source of employment opportunities leading to the high standard of living
- Development of infrastructure that is rural feeder roads
- Source of government revenue through taxation
- Use of family labor which is cheap
- Use of a small pieces of land
- Leads to the promotion of economic diversification reducing the problem of over depending on the economic sector
- It needs low capital and low skills to manage
- Provide a market for industrial products e.g fertilizers, pesticides, and hoes
- Environmental protection by providing habitats for plant and animal species
- Source of food for the farmer's families
- It can lead to the development of agro-based industries like maize milling plants and dairy industries
Changing the way we think when we talk about food production and distribution, and who we think about, can greatly improve food security. We urge world leaders to transform the food system by prioritizing smallholder agriculture and finding creative solutions to the chronic poverty problem that afflicts too many of its citizens.