Smallholder farming is the predominant sector in the rural economy of Latin America where it is characterised by large heterogeneity and represents an important source of rural employment and food security. Although the last decade has been a historic period of prosperity and growth in Latin America, the persistence of high poverty levels and low productivity continues to limit smallholder development across the region. Today, the globalised economy presents additional challenges to smallholders who must operate in new market structures with demanding requirements. Likewise, as global demand for agricultural land has increased, a new land grabbing phenomenon is threatening the very survival of smallholder farmers. This Guide examines recent efforts by Latin American countries to support smallholders in this new context by analysing a range of interventions aimed at reviving the institutions and strategies for achieving sustainable rural development goals. Latin American experiences demonstrate some key success factors that will be of interest to policymakers and practitioners in other regions of the world.
ELLA. Recognising the Diversity of Smallholder Farmers in Latin America: A New Era in Rural Development. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2014) 14 pp.