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Title: Assessing food availability: A novel approach for the quantitative estimation of the contribution of small farms in regional food systems in Europe
Authors: Guiomar, Nuno
Godinho, Sérgio
Rivera, Maria
Pinto-Correia, Teresa
Machado, Rui
Czekaj, Marta
Tyran, Ewa
Puchała, Jacek
Issue Date: Sep-2021
Publisher: Global Food Security
Citation: Guiomar, N., Godinho, S., Rivera, M., Pinto-Correia, T., Machado, R., Czekaj, M.,Tyran, E. & Puchała, J. (2021). Assessing food availability: A novel approach for the quantitative estimation of the contribution of small farms in regional food systems in Europe. Global Food Security, 30, 100555.
Abstract: Recent findings on the contribution of smallholders to global food production and security challenge the values used in several reports of international organizations. The skewed distribution of the number of farms and the agricultural area by farm size may explain overestimations in small farms' food production. In fact, the highest values found in literature seem to be more strongly correlated to the total number of small farms than to the actual area they cover, suggesting errors in the estimation procedures. Additionally, a significant part of the small farms is not considered in official statistics, thus limiting the use of the data and also leading to underestimations. New efforts are thus needed to develop and apply methodologies to reduce the error and uncertainty of these estimates. In this paper we demonstrate the progress obtained by using a novel approach to provide new and more accurate estimates on the availability of food produced in small farms in 17 European regions (NUTS-3 level) distributed in 8 countries. Our assessment was carried out using two data sets: [1] data on crop area and production for a priori selected key products in each reference region, collected through questionnaires to small producers; [2] remote sensing-based products derived from Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 images, including crop type maps with ground-truth validation and small-scale farming systems probability maps. To reduce error propagation resulting from self-reported yield estimates, we used robust measures of central tendency based on Tukey's bi-weight function to compute the overall production in small farms in each region, minimizing the effect of outliers. The self-reported yields by small farmers were also compared with national and regional values of productivity per unit area and discussed in light of previous findings. Our results highlight not only the importance of small farms in the European context, but also their diversity in productivity levels. In addition to the novel methodological steps that underlie our study, which involve the combination of remote sensing data with data resulting from field surveys, the approach undertaken allows to better understand the contribution of small farmers to food security in each regional context, and the potential they have to support short food supply chains. Our findings can be key in supporting policy options that aim to enhance food security by reducing the EU footprint through strengthening and diversifying regional food systems.
Type: article
Appears in Collections:MED - Publicações - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais Com Arbitragem Científica

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