Small farms are leading the way toward sustainable agriculture

There are about 475 million small farms, those working on land under two hectares, around the world that cultivates around 12 percent of the world’s farmed land.

Many of these small farms are developing innovative ways to adapt to climate change that maintains productivity while decreasing emissions, and conserving biodiversity.

Farmers are taking steps toward sustainable intensification through increasing their farm’s efficiency, replacing ineffective or harmful products, and redesigning the whole farm to become more sustainable.

An example of a sustainable practice that maximizes resource efficiency is planting rice plants in nutrient-rich nurseries to save around 40 percent of water used compared to traditional production methods. Many farmers also replaced old crop varieties with new ones that are climate resilient.

Other small farms adapted a radical redesign that involves techniques and practices such as those that minimize the disruption of the soil’s structure and biodiversity.

Evidence shows that these methods are already helping small farms achieve healthy yields and other benefits such as carbon sequestration, decreased energy consumption, as well as synthetic inputs and climate resilience.

All in all, climate proofing is best achieved through sustainable farming practices that are already being done by many small farms. The remaining challenge is to spread redesigned agriculture on a global scale.

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