The future of small farms in a rapidly changing world

The future of small farms in a rapidly changing world
Syngenta Foundation Executive Director Marco Ferroni (left) and CABI CEO Trevor Nicholls (right) opening the conference. Photo: Syngenta

On 24-25 January 2017, CABI and the Syngenta foundation for sustainable agriculture hosted a conference at the Syngenta conference centre in Basel, Switzerland. The conference, entitled “The Future of Small Farms”, covered a broad range of topics aimed at assessing the state of agricultural policy in developing economies and emerging markets, and its influence on smallholder farmers around the world.

As an exponential increase in global population is expected by 2050, rise in food demand will create more opportunities for smallholder farmers. However, as smallholder farmers have to operate within the context of a rapidly changing world, they will need technology innovation and investments if they are to succeed in meeting global food demands and improving their livelihoods.

Syngenta Foundation event - the future of small farms
Delegates at the conference. Photo: Syngenta

The conference brought together experts from fields of agricultural development, technology and innovation to explore topics relating to land consolidation, farm productivity, and non-farm job growth, structural transformation in developing economies, digital agriculture and platforms for linking farmers to markets, seed delivery systems, plant health management and risk management.

Speaking on the topic of Plantwise and Innovations in Smallholder Plant Health Management, CABI’s Washington Otieno, the Programme Executive for Plantwise, said “Partnership is important and enables countries to have plant health systems where pest problems are recognised and solutions agreed by all – that is the Plantwise approach”.

Wrapping up the conference Dr Trevor Nicholls, CABI’s CEO, said “Smallholders are here to stay, they will continue to be part of the agricultural scene into the future. With the right encouragement, access and incentives they can improve their production. It’s been fantastic to see such a broad range of agricultural initiatives from across the sector. It has offered a broader horizon.”

This week we will be running a series of articles on the issues raised at the “The Future of Small Farms” conference. Subscribe to the Plantwise blog to get them straight in your inbox.

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