The world's largest private sector?

Authors: Verdone, Michael,

More than 1.5 billion smallholders throughout the world depend on forest landscapes to produce food, fuel, timber and non-wood forest products to meet their subsistence needs and generate cash income. Despite the large number of smallholders and the large collective scale of their production, policy makers have overlooked smallholders’ role as a powerful economic engine. New evidence presented in this report suggests that the value of smallholder production exceeds that of the world’s largest companies, making smallholder production collectively the world’s largest private sector. The findings of this report aim to alert land-use decision makers to the existing value of smallholder production; encourage greater efforts to secure, invest in, and add value to that production; promote devolution of control downwards to local levels where context-specific issues are most efficiently solved, and protect smallholder landscapes from incursions by agro-industrial models whose large unit value can exceed the collective value of multiple smallholder producers.