A farming system denotes agricultural activities organized towards the attainment of land products while maintaining environmental quality without compromising on biological and ecological stability. Farming has been a traditional agrarian pursuit since ancient times and still is the main form of livelihood for a vast majority of the world’s population.
Fact 1. Three-quarters of the people in the world are found in the rural villages with farming as the main occupation and living in acute poverty.
Fact 2. Recent modern agricultural trends have focused on reduced input costs, income diversification, seasonal spread, and greater income potential. Positive effects from ecological agriculture include: mitigation of climate change, improved nutritional content, and resource conservation.
Fact 3. Small-scale farmers face challenges such as: price volatility, rising production costs, and slow growth in yields accompanied by an increase in land and water constraints. Accessibility and penetration of the right markets is another key criterion.
Fact 4. The new emphasis on farming, as advocated by global entities such as the World Bank, has seen the emergence of agribusinesses profiled by large tracts of land and the growing of crops based on an economic scale. However, the reality on the ground is that the rural poor lack the required resources for capital-intensive farming.
Fact 5. Asia is home to 75% of the world’s farming population with a vast majority categorized as very small farmers or as landless.
Fact 6. There have been activists in the form of peasant movements, such as Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement and the Anjuman Mazareen Punjab in India. These groups have been fighting for the securing of land rights for farmers who have been involved in farming the land for generations. Unfortunately, in most cases, it is an uphill battle against formidable parties.
Fact 7. In South Africa, land ownership ratios have not changed from 1913 when the Natives’ Land Act granted 87 per cent of the land for whites. However, recent violence amongst commercial farmers averaging 290 per 100,000 annually for 5 years up until 2011 has resulted in a decline in white farms by about 33%.
Fact 8. Africa possesses an estimated 60% of the world’s uncultivated land. Only 10% of farmed land is mechanised with another 4% being irrigated. The potential for income from farming can go up to $880 billion by 2030 from the $280 billion earned in 2010.
Fact 9. Dry areas of the world constitutes 40% of the global land mass and are home to 2.5 billion people, 33% of the global population. In all of these areas, the population is growing rapidly with a decline in food production. Similarly, in many developing countries, farming has been abandoned in favor of urban jobs which strains the domestic food supply.
Fact 10. On the positive side, many countries have implemented large-scale farming initiatives that take into consideration factors such as: climate change, food security, and greenhouse emissions.