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How should we distinguish between different types of farming?

There seems to be many ways of distinguishing different types of farming, farm types, or farmer groups. For our purposes, we are using the below. While simplistic, it helps us assess how different challenges, innovations, and potential breakthroughs affect these three differently (and similarly).

Would this typology gloss over important factors and distinctions that we should be trying to capture by using another typology?

• Smallholder Farming: up to 10 hectares of mainly rural type of farming that typically constitutes the main source of livelihood for a single family, and is dependent on family labor. It could include livestock, such as cattle, pig, poultry, fish, and dairy products.
• Commercial Farming: larger than 10 hectares mainly rural type of farming where crops are grown, or animals grazed for commercial use. Typically, monoculture, involves large-scale production, and depends on machines. It includes livestock, such as cattle, pig, poultry, fish, and dairy products.
• Urban and Peri-Urban Farming: growing crops in urban and peri-urban areas for local commerce. Could be on rooftops, in warehouses, brownfields, or previously industrial or housing areas. Includes animals and insects.

Thank you!

Comments

  • CarolineCaroline Los Angeles, CaliforniaPosts: 44 XPRIZE
    edited March 2019
    We've recently had an interesting conversation about this categorization. One expert suggested we categorize farmers based on market access. Some farmers are marginalized, others have partial or full access.

    I suspect things like farm size, gender, age, location, access to infrastructure and government & financial services, and other factors can also help us understand the future of farming from a farmer 'user' lens.

    Would love to hear your thoughts about that and other ways we can look at the topic at hand from the point of view of farmers themselves.
  • autumnbarnesautumnbarnes Posts: 11 ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    I like @SevagKechichian's breakdown by size but it might be too oversimplified.

    On the crop side, what is considered a commercial operation will depend on where geographically they are located and how mechanized they are. I'm thinking Canadian Prairie crop producers compared to, say, smallholder ag in developing countries. A crop farmer in Alberta that only farms 160 acres (64 ha) is only farming 1 field and would not be relying on the farm as their main source of income. If a grower plans to seed, harvest, etc with lots of manual labour, that 64 ha is huge.

    Caroline's comments are great too. Are there any existing models that we could pull from that relate access to infrastructure with the actual quantity or value of crop produced?

    I wonder if this isn't too difficult to do for a whole world approach. Is there on specific geographic area that should be focused on? Areas that are most in-need or areas which will be most capable of adapting tech or ready to pay for the innovations that come from the XPRIZE?
  • CarolineCaroline Los Angeles, CaliforniaPosts: 44 XPRIZE
    edited March 2019
    Thank you for your insight, @autumnbarnes!

    You hit the nail right on the head with your question about geographical scope.
    We are continuing to use this online community and other research efforts to refine our target group and that relates very closely to geographical scope.

    To put it quite simply, given our focus on smallholder farmers, we may largely focus on farming in Sub Saharan Africa and South & Central Asia where 80% of food is produced by smallholder farmers. The goal, however, is to remain global in scope and identify breakthroughs that are applicable everywhere.

    As for the relationship between infrastructure the actual quantity or value of crop produced, I have come across some studies that draw a strong connection. Take this paper presented at CSAE Conference 2014: Economic Development in
    Africa, The University of Oxford. The researchers study the impact of the
    change in road access from 2004 to 2012 on the change in technology adoption, farm productivity and market access by smallholder
    farmers in Kenya and show improved results over time.

    Would love to hear your feedback!
  • autumnbarnesautumnbarnes Posts: 11 ✭✭
    Thanks @Caroline for the clarification! Can you please send me the link another way? It isn't working for me. The concept of road access and technology adoption is really interesting. I wonder how that has changed now with smartphones and internet access?
  • NickOttensNickOttens Community Manager Barcelona, SpainPosts: 798 admin
    There was a typo in the URL, the link in @Caroline's comment should work now :)
  • NickOttensNickOttens Community Manager Barcelona, SpainPosts: 798 admin
    @MRM, @Macopiyo, we'd be interested in your perspective on this question. Does the division into Smallholder Farming, Commercial Farming, and Urban and Peri-Urban Farming make sense?

    We need some sort of categorization in order to help us assess how different challenges, innovations and breakthroughs (will) affect different types of farmers. Some challenges, for example, may only be felt by smallholder farmers. Certain innovations may only be viable in commercial farming.
  • NickOttensNickOttens Community Manager Barcelona, SpainPosts: 798 admin
    @Evan_Fraser, you may have thoughts on this as well. Do you think the division into Smallholder Farming, Commercial Farming, and Urban and Peri-Urban Farming make sense to you? Or would you suggest a different division or categorization?
  • NickOttensNickOttens Community Manager Barcelona, SpainPosts: 798 admin
    I just noticed this comment from @PaulineB, but it was in a different place. Relevant to this discussion:
    The term "smallholder" really is not accurate for subsistence farmers in Africa, where land is often not "held" by farmers themselves but they are allowed to use it. It is rather "held" communally, with no legal tenure, just culturally accepted norms upheld by the group. That makes it difficult to introduce new technology or farming method. In many cases, farming is merely sticking a root into the ground among other growth, especially in tropical or semi-tropical climes. It is hard to distinguish where the farm boundaries begin and end, though the farmer knows. Another problem is farmer/herder clashes In Nigeria, these conflicts are causing more deaths than terrorist attacks from Boko Haram. Herders have traditionally been nomadic and expect freedom of movement but climate change has expanded the Sahara, forcing herders to seek grazing land in areas traditionally harvested for crops. The "smallholder" terminology does not apply here either.
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