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April 17th, 2017 / The Lancet Planetary Health, UK

When many of us contemplate the role of agriculture in feeding 7·2 billion people, we picture large-scale, industrialised, and efficient systems that produce lots of food that is shipped around the world. Although those systems are relevant, they are only one dimension of what agriculture consists of, who feeds us, and where those farmers reside. In addition to big farms, the world is also fed by approximately 570 million smallholder farms, which use less than two hectares of land and account for roughly 12% of the world’s agricultural land.1 83% of these farms are in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where they produce some of the major commodities consumed in the world and provide more than 70% of the food calories to people living in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa; yet many of these farmers are poor and somewhat neglected. These farmers lack the necessary capital for rural development and transformation, including natural, built, human, social, political, and financial capital. Read more