“Small farms are more efficient than large farms”
“Not every agriculture will have significant impacts on poverty reduction. Both FAO and the
Hunger Task Force are in favour of a small-holder focus:
• The bulk of poor people in rural areas of regions where poverty and hunger are high and
resistant are: smallholders producing staple for own consumption or small surpluses for
the local markets.
• There is significant potential for the expansion of staples production as population expands
in the developing countries (for Africa, it is expected that traditional staples demand will
double by 2015).
• Small farms are more efficient than large farms: land productivity is higher for small
• Small farms employ more labour per hectare than large farms. This contributes to an
increase in wages and rural employment.
• Producing for own consumption (subsistence) or for local markets reduces transaction
costs associated with purchased foods and improved food access and nutrition.
• Expenditure patterns of smallholder households promote local growth.”
Source: Kostas Stamoulis, Chief of Agricultural Sector in Economic Development Service, FAO, and
member of the Hunger Task Force, in a Sustainet panel discussion, 6 September 2005, Berlin.
taken from GTZ Sustainet. 2006. Sustainable agriculture: A pathway out of poverty for India’s rural poor. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit, Eschborn.