From subsistence to profit: Transforming smallholder farms

The global agriculture and food system is being rapidly transformed. What would be the role of smallholder farmers in this process? Is small still beautiful in today’s global food security equation?

In a new report “From Subsistence to Profit: Transforming Smallholder Farms,” my co-authors and I argue that smallholders still have an important role to play, but they are not a homogenous group that must be supported at all costs.

While some smallholder farmers have the potential to take on profitable commercial activities, others should be supported to exit agriculture and seek non-farm opportunities.

The report presents a typology of the diverse livelihood strategies and development pathways for smallholder farmers in developing countries. It also provides policy recommendations to assist potentially profitable smallholder farmers meet emerging risks and challenges.