Over 500 million family farms produce the world’s food.
The vast majority of the world’s farms are small or very small, and in many lower-income countries farm sizes are becoming even smaller.
• Worldwide, farms of less than 1 hectare account for 72 percent of all farms but control only 8 percent of all agricultural land.
• Slightly larger farms between 1 and 2 hectares account for 12 percent of all farms and control 4 percent of the land.
• Farms in the range of 2 to 5 hectares account for 10 percent of all farms and control 7 percent of the land.
• In contrast, only 1 percent of all farms in the world are larger than 50 hectares, but these few farms control 65 percent of the world’s agricultural land. Many of these large, and sometimes very large, farms are family-owned and operated.
The above graphic shows global farms by farm size covering a total of about 460 million farms in 111 countries. (Since this data is difficult to obtain, numbers are estimated.)
The highly skewed pattern of farm sizes at the global level largely reflects the dominance of very large farms in high-income and upper-middle-income countries and in countries where extensive livestock grazing is a dominant part of the agricultural system.
Land is somewhat more evenly distributed in the low-and lower-middle-income countries where more than 95 percent of all farms are smaller than 5 hectares. These farms occupy almost three-quarters of all farm land in the low-income countries and almost two-thirds in the lower- middle income group.
In contrast, farms larger than 50 hectares control only 2 percent and 11 percent, respectively, of the land in these income groups.