Family farmers are more than food producers. They are stewards of biodiversity, climate change fighters, and entrepreneurs, boosting local economies. To help them do their multiple jobs better, we need to invest more in family farmers, small and large.
Just over a year ago, a sharp rise in maize prices, triggered by the worst drought in the last 50 years in the US Midwest, sent shock waves through the international food markets raising fears that food prices would spiral out of control as they had in 2007-8, 2010-11 and 2012.
Small-scale, family-run farms not only form the base of rural communities in both the developing and developed world and provide a large number of jobs, but they are also at the center of sustainable production.
"Though I've tracked the hunger problem for decades, I had no idea the agency's definition of hunger is so limited. To me, it seems certain to miss millions more who don't experience such long-term, extreme deprivation but who are still without the food they need."
I must confess that I was little troubled by a UN report this week that suggested that eating more insects may be just what we need to feed the more than 9 billion people that are projected to inhabit the planet by mid-century.
Family farmers have been and will always continue to be critical to national and global food security. Food Tank will be featuring posts focused on the issues and innovations critical to family farmers around the world, as well as actions everyone can take to support them.
There is now a growing understanding of the international, wider context of large land deals. Researchers are also showing how the narratives of 'idle land', 'productive commercial agriculture' and 'backward smallholders' are being used by politicians and others.
Today, some 1 billion people are still undernourished and many countries are far from achieving the first millennium development goal of halving the proportion of people living in hunger and extreme poverty by 2015.
India is in the process of enacting a food security act to provide food for nearly 70 percent of the population, specifically targeting the poor, who are often not counted in state surveys and who are denied many benefits.