Food, Agriculture and Small Farmers in Asia

  • Lindsay FalveyEmail author


Food demand, an increasingly urban consumer base, food safety and risks of disease transference from domestic livestock, define much of the fundamentals for development in Asia. Food security for the populous region relies on small farmers, continuous research breakthroughs and an appreciation of the integrated nature of development, which in turn provides a broad understanding of the intent behind the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Agriculture’s impact on the natural environment in meeting food demand, sometimes misunderstood to have been avoidable, forms part of the ongoing research focus that seeks to balance human and environmental well-being. As the major source of basic food production, small farmers with diverse food outputs support their own lifestyles in rural regions, and thereby reduce the rate of urban poverty growth, while also providing marketable surpluses. This chapter argues that a holistic view of development indicates that food security continues as it has through history to be central to good governance, which ipso facto renders reliance on free trade in food to be a risk for food-importing nations. Continual reliance on research has become more critical with an increased global awareness of the link between food deficits and migration, and with the poorly appreciated decline in international research spending specific to developing nations. The lead in such research and development is shifting to China and India, yet much still focuses on large-scale production. Research which focuses on small farmers is catered for through the efficient if underfunded Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), which has made substantial contributions to world stability and food through innovations across agricultural intensification, environmental sustainability, market reform, food safety and zoonotic disease mitigation. The chapter concludes that where food and nutritional security are responsibly managed, population-induced environmental degradation decreases and opportunities for other developments are created such as conservation, education, health and gender equity.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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