Chris Van Es

Climate-Smart Smallholders

In order to build a global green economy, global leaders must recognize the linkages between climate change, the environment, and food security. And that means that small farmers, who account for 60% of global agriculture and provide up to 80% of developing countries’ food supply, must part of the discussion.

KIGALI – Until the world’s small farmers adopt a series of necessary changes, climate talks such as the United Nations Rio+20 Summit, which will take place in Rio de Janeiro this June, will never translate into action. The emergence of a global green economy requires governments, other policymakers, and businesses from developed and emerging economies to recognize the inextricable linkages between climate change, the environment, and food security. This means bringing the world’s smallholder agriculture into the discussion.

Every day, smallholder farmers in developing countries confront the consequences of climate change. They are often the very first to fall prey to fickle global markets or extreme weather events.

Yet smallholders cannot be ignored when it comes to climate-change solutions: the world’s half-billion small farms account for 60% of global agriculture production and provide up to 80% of the food supply in developing countries. Together, they manage vast areas of our planet, including 80% of the farmland in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

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