Yesterday was World Food Day, and as the world strives every day to meet the second of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – ending hunger and achieving food security – we face a strange contradiction: Half of the world’s households most affected by hunger are farmers. Ironically, these hunger-stricken farmers operate many of the 500 million smallholder farms that are critical to feeding the world as its population grows. Smallholder farms are defined as less than 5 hectares (or a little more than 12 acres), but many, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, are only the size of a large back yard in an American neighborhood.

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