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IFAD (2011) Smallholder Farming in Asia and Pacific: Challenges and Opportunities

  • this study assesses the challenges and opportunities faced by small or family farming in Asia and the Pacific region in sustainable agricultural production and productivity enhancement, and in diversifying into high-value commodities.
  • Based on a recent household survey in India, the study examined smallholders’ constraints in marketing their outputs of food commodities, and complementarities between large investors and smallholders that could be better exploited.
  • The study has shown that small farmers confront new challenges on integration into high value chains, adaptations to climate change, and market volatility and other risks and vulnerability. However, they have also shown their ability to integrate successfully into high value chains contingent upon support through intermediation (e.g. public –private cooperation in ensuring food safety standards) and internalization (e.g. through producers’ association in meeting quality standards).
  • In the wake of the food price crisis, attractive investment opportunities have opened up in agriculture, leading to large-scale investments and competition for land. However, frequently the large farm advantage is due to market failures, institutional gaps and policy distortions. Elimination of such biases against smallholders would enhance their competitiveness.
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