De-mystifying family farming: Features, diversity and trends across the globe

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50 Citations (Scopus)


Family farms are defined by two criteria: the importance of family labour and the transfer of ownership, land tenure or management to the next generation. Most farms across the globe are family farms, and they vary in size from 10,000 ha. Trends in farm size (small farms getting smaller and large farms getting larger) are not directly related to farm ownership and do not necessarily impact global food security. Rather, both the causes and effects of farm size trends depend on the availability of farm resources and off-farm employment opportunities. Similarly, environmental sustainability, though impacted by agriculture, cannot be linked directly to family ownership or farm size. To address issues related to environment, social conditions and food security, focus should not be on the preservation of family farms but on transformations to strive for environmental, social and economic sustainability of farming in all its shapes and forms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-18
JournalGlobal Food Security
Issue numberJune
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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