SALSA - Small Farms, Small Food Businesses and Sustainable Food Security, is an EU-funded Horizon 2020 project running from April 2016 to March 2020, with the aim to provide a better understanding of the role of small farms and small food businesses in meeting the sustainable food and nutrition security (FNS) challenge. It is currently nearing completion after 4 years of work.
Five small farm types: A novel typology reflecting market integration and self-sufficiency levels of Small Farms
One of the project’s main outcomes consists of a novel typology of small farms, which shows that all small farms, in one way or another, are integrated into the market and keep part of their production for self-provisioning. The five types of the typology were identified using a large set of farm-level indicators revealing the different backgrounds, governance mechanisms, strategies and future expectations of small farms in Europe and Africa. Part-time farms and Conventional strugglers are the types that contribute most to regional food availability; Conventional entrepreneurs; Business specialised and Business multifunctional also give a significant contribution to regional food availability but have a stronger market orientation. All types of farmers are present in all the 30 regions analysed, however, their contribution to FNS differs depending on the type.
The SALSA policy briefs to guide policy interventions in support of small farms
SALSA has also published a series of 5 Policy Briefs with policy lessons and recommendations that especially target decision makers in the reference regions as well as the EU policy development, paying particular attention to the Europe-Africa dialogue.
The SALSA research shows that policy interventions would benefit from being more territorially based and from taking into account the characteristics of regional food systems and as well as the different types of small farms that take part in them.
Two overriding policy recommendations of relevance to all regions studied:
Introduce appropriate combinations of policy interventions to help small farms add value to their produce since they are more productive and profitable when they specialize in quality produce and processing. This may include support to those small farms that are mainly self-provisioning, but who have the ambition to commercialise.
Foster and facilitate cooperation as the most enabling and empowering form of governance for small farms and small food businesses. This includes the introduction of appropriate frameworks for value chain strategies /contracts that promote greater coordination and the more equitable distribution of power and financial benefit between small farmers and other supply chain actors.