Which is the largest agricultural database in the world? The largest and the most authentic is no doubt FAOSTAT of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The latest news is that FAOSTAT comes with an important new domain that enables much easier comparison and assessment of trends over time of the agricultural structures of all Member countries.
An open access portal serving as a global public good, FAOSTAT gathers and harmonizes a wealth of data on the production, trade and consumption in the agricultural sectors, by far the world’s largest economic section in terms of employment and sustaining livelihoods. In recent years, FAO has added an increasing array of critical information on greenhouse gas emissions and use forest cover and investment. Now it is adding Structural Data from Agricultural Censuses, which present time bound national reports that track among others how large Farm holdings are, who works on them, and who owns them. Senior Statistician and Leader of the FAQS World Programme for the Census of Agriculture Jairo Castano said this data is not available anywhere in the world. It was Castano who steered the project to fruition.
“This is precious bottom-up information based on actual farms, all the worlds farms,” he said. The new domain allows rapid access to knowing how many farms exist in a given country, what their sizes are, the tenure Typology determining its ownership, the farmer’s gender, and how many people live and work on them all sourced to national Agricultural Censuses.
This allows policy workers to compare the structure of the agricultural sector of one country with that of another or of a region, while also allowing researchers to analyze, for example, the distribution of farm sizes both at the national and global level, Castang said.
• The Russian Federation has the largest total area covered by farms, at 451 million hectares, followed by Australia, the United States of America and Brazil.
• Russia also has the most holdings or farms – regardless of size – per 1 000 people, followed by China, Viet Nam and India.
• The countries with the largest average farm size are Australia, followed at a distance by Iceland, Argentina, Uruguay, Canada, New Zealand and Czech Republic.
• Among countries that have conducted a census, those with the smallest reported average holdings’ area ore Palau, Bangladesh and Egypt.
• Forty percent or more of all agricultural holdings are headed by women in Lithuania, Latvia and Es watini. Nowhere is that above 50 percent.
• In eight countries, 60 per cent or more of farm land is rented rather than operated by owners. Apart from Northern Mariana Islands, they are all in Europe, including France and Germany.
• Holdings operated by juridical persons – corporations, cooperatives or government agencies – are most frequent in France, Uruguay, Guam, South Africa Czech Republic and Iceland, and rarely exceed 10 percent.
• When measured by area instead of individual units, however, juridical control characterizes more than two-thirds of holdings in Namibia, Slovakia Mauritius, Czechia and Bulgaria, followed closely by Peru and Hungary.
• Countries where most of the household members in agricultural holdings were actually engaged in agriculture include Brazil, Viet Nam, Uruguay and Republic of Korea. The trend is increasing in those countries as well as in Burkina Faso, Myanmar and Japan .