Small farming concept grows in US

New Delhi (PTI): Small farming is gaining favour in the US, while in India policy makers hold it responsible for the ills in agricultural growth.According to a report released by USDA last month, the number of farms (farmers) has grown four per cent in the past five years in the US. It also said the number of small farms have increased by 74,000 between 2002 and 2007.

But unlike in India, where definition of small farmers, which constitute 60 per cent of the population, is based on their land holdings, the Americans decide on the basis of income.

In the US, small farmers are those whose gross sales fall below USD 2,50,000 per annum while those below USD 50,000 income are considered very small.

Ann Cooper, a California-based author, is leading a campaign for consumption of food, grown at small-scale and being sold locally. Recently, she said that the vast majority of grocery store food in the US comes from a handful of multinational companies.

“There are local sources available (to buy food), but that part of our agriculture needs to grow larger,” she said.

Experts said, the new development in the US should be taken note of by Indian policy makers who have been advocating for contract farming or corporate farming.

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