FAO: Investing in family farmers, smallholders key to productivity boost

Investing in family farmers and smallholders is the key to the "inclusive growth" which will drive the world's population out of hunger, says the FAO.

Improving agricultural productivity by investing in family farmers and smallholders is an essential element of “inclusive growth” with the potential to benefit economies and reduce hunger, according to a recent FAO report, The State of Food Insecurity in the World.

The latest estimates indicate approximately 795 million people in the world – about one in nine – were undernourished in 2014 to 2016, though the trend over time is improving.

Progress in fighting hunger over the past decade should be seen against the backdrop of a trying global environment, the report says, including more frequent extreme weather events and natural disasters, which “have taken a huge toll in terms of human lives and economic damage, hampering efforts to enhance food security”.

It adds, however, that the “changing global economic environment has challenged traditional approaches to addressing hunger”.

Changes in populous countries, especially China and India, mean the figures for developing countries as a whole are considerably better than those in 1990-92.

However, the FAO report shows progress in different regions is uneven, and reviews the hunger targets for the upcoming years. It finds, comparing GDP to the number of undernourished people, that “economic growth has brought strong and persistent hunger reduction” and recommends “inclusive growth” as the way forward.

Read the report, The State of Food Insecurity in the World.