- Funding: Open Society Foundation
- ECI: Dr Monika Zurek (PI); Jim Woodhill (Co-I); Dr Saher Hasnain (Researcher)
Connecting local knowledge with global food systems
The research initiative focuses on the future of small scale agriculture in the global food system. Combining insight from leading global expertise with strategic dialogue processes in Africa it will deepen understanding and debate about the transformation of small-holder agriculture. The context for this work is the rapid and fundamental changes in the global food system related to urbanisation, changing consumption patterns, modernisation of markets and trade. There are urgent questions about how transformation will happen and what pathways and strategies will be socially, economically and environmentally desirable. The project will connect a global understanding on future opportunities and challenges with in-depth processes in Ghana and Zambia. Lead country partners are engaging key stakeholders and facilitate a process to assess systemic risks and transformational opportunities. For this the project is drawing on well-established approaches to food systems analysis, foresight and scenario planning and participatory decision making.
This new report What future for small scale agriculture? is based on research by the Food Systems Transformation Group at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford, and funded by the Open Society Foundations (OSF). The report can be downloaded here.
Transforming small-scale family farming is critical to long-term global food and nutrition security, tackling rural poverty and hunger, and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Commercial small-scale family farms of 20 ha or less are and will remain critical to food supply in middle- and low-income countries. The report contributes to the creation of informed and compelling narratives about desirable futures for small-scale agriculture. Such narratives are necessary to sway interests and generate political will for change. They need to be grounded in systems thinking, supported by synthesis of research, and underpinned by alternative scenarios to assess trade-offs and re-imagined policy options. There are 500 million small-scale farms in the world and 2 to 3 billion people still depend on small-scale agriculture for their livelihoods.