CHEFS 4 THE PLANET

THE GLOBAL INFORMATION AND SOLUTIONS NETWORK FOR SUSTAINABLE GASTRONOMY

THE GLOBAL INFORMATION AND SOLUTIONS NETWORK FOR SUSTAINABLE GASTRONOMY

Small farms outdo big ones on biodiversity — and crop yields

Large-scale farms account for most of the global food supply, but smallholdings protect species and are just as profitable.

Small farms tend to be more productive and biodiverse than large ones, and are roughly as profitable and resource-efficient.

Worldwide, 84% of farms are less than 2 hectares in size. Many policymakers and scientists argue that these smallholdings outperform large industrial operations — which provide the bulk of the world’s food — on a range of environmental and socioeconomic measures. Vincent Ricciardi and his colleagues at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, analysed 118 studies conducted over 50 years across 51 countries to assess how farm size affects outcomes other than food production.

The team found that small farms have higher yields than large ones do, perhaps owing to the increased availability of family labour. 

Read the rest here: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00825-2

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