WP1. Transdisciplinary theory building and analytical framework

In WP1, we will further refine the conceptual framework for the research, and the related analytical framework. This will be achieved through an innovative transdisciplinary theory-building process, which integrates academic with expert and lay knowledge, in order to assess the theoretical perspectives, and identify the most important questions for future development. In our work, we will refer to a number of relevant theoretical frameworks in order to provide a more solid basis for all analysis. Most frameworks can support particular elements to the analysis, none is sufficient on its own:

  • Chayanovian models stress the trade-off between need for income and drudgery related to work;
  • Models inspired by Polany highlight how market and non-market logic (such as reciprocity and redistribution) are mobilized in reaction to specific situations;
  • Neo-classical models exploit the concept of marginal utility of family labour to explain the mix of on-farm, off-farm and hired labour;
  • Sustainable livelihood approaches underline the multiple sources of livelihood and the role of ‘vulnerability context’;
  • Farming system approaches investigate the implications of multiple feedbacks between social, economic and environmental subsystems;
  • Actor-network approaches study the role of non-human factors in social organization, in social change and in innovation;
  • The resulting analytical framework will support all subsequent WPs. The initial conceptual framework, in turn, will at a later stage be revisited in the light of the empirical analysis. 

WP Leader: Universita di Pisa (UNIPI)

WP2. Estimation of small farms distribution and production potential

The FAO (2014) estimates that there are at least 570 million farms in the world, and that over 90% of them (over 500 million) are family farms. The vast majority of family farms are small; about 94% of farms worldwide have less than 5 ha (FAO 2014), and a large percentage of those occupy less than 2 ha (Lowder et al. 2014). One of the primary constraints in quantitative assessments is that small farms are frequently not detectable from official records and statistics. The consequenceis that there are no sufficiently reliable estimates of their numbers, distribution, production capacities and contribution to food availability (i.e. production). There is also little information on the connection and disconnection between smallholders’ production and consumption. SALSA includes an experimental and highly novel analytical approach using the most recent advances in satellite technology with SENTINEL-2 data in combination with Eurostat and national agricultural statistics, land cover data and key informant interviews, in order to provide the detailed distribution and estimated production capacity of small farms in the reference regions in Europe and Africa. A potentially very useful by-product of WP2 will be an assessment of the effectiveness of using SENTINEL-2 data for assessing and monitoring small farms in Europe and Africa with validated methodological guidelines and data templates.

WP Leader: Universidade de Évora (U Évora)

WP3. In-depth assessment of food systems in 30 reference regions

WP3 is central in SALSA, as almost all primary data collection, including the information needed in later WPs, will be undertaken in WP3 in 30 reference regions – 25 in Europe (as here a complete coverage is demanded by the research funder) and 5 in Africa (where we will carry out comparable research in order to improve mutual understanding in this kind of analysis). Each research partner will cover 2 or 3 regions. Data will be collected through carefully targeted interviews with key informants and focus groups. Other data collection methods such as document review and analysis of existing statistics will complement the analytical effort. Implementation of WP3 will therefore require strong coordination among teams with the WP leader. In WP3, we will carry out an in-depth assessment of the local regional food systems in order to determine the current and potential role of small farms and related small food businesses in FNS. Particular attention will be paid to the diversity, complexity and context-specificity of food systems and FNS, as well as the region-specific connections between local resources, production, processing, retailing and consumption, and how small farms relate to the food system. In each reference region, a detailed map and description of the regional food system will be produced. Results of the in-depth assessment will be validated in regional-level workshops, and will then feed into WPs4-6.

WP Leader: Universidade de Évora (U Évora)

WP4. Participatory foresight analysis

This WP will assess the potential contribution of small farms to FNS in 2030 and 2050, elaborating the information produced in WP2 and WP3. In the discussions, we will pay attention to issues such as the vulnerability of small farms and food systems, the adaptation of small farms to foreseeable challenges, potential increases in food production, food access and utilisation, and the challenges related to urbanization and growing rural densities in some areas of the less developed countries. WP4 consists of a foresight analysis that will combine participatory backcasting and exploratory scenario analysis. Participants will be selected from those already involved in WP3, as well as national-level representatives of institutions, producers and small food businesses and consumers. Due to the high resource demand of this participatory process, only a sub-set of 10-12 regions representing the main types of food situations will be implemented in WP4, the subset to be identified in WP2 and WP3.

WP Leader: Universitat Politecnica de Valencia (UPV) Spain

WP5. Analysis of the governance of small farmer organization and food chains

The multiple initiatives launched in the 2014 International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) demonstrated the importance of governance to the future sustainability of small farms around the world and identified a need to develop innovative types of research and extension that put farmers at the centre. The aim of WP5 is to identify and assess, based on the insights gained from the reference regions in WP3 and WP4, those governance frameworks that influence, positively or negatively, the contribution of small farms and related small businesses to FNS. We will pay particular attention to the access of small farms and small food businesses to public programmes, the regulation and functioning of local food systems, chains and networks, the adoption of private standards, the access to national and global food chains, and the impact of gender-focused interventions.WP5 will derive a set of representative governance frameworks allowing small farms and small food businesses to contribute to FNS. The outcomes of this WP will support the WP6 analysis.

WP Leader: The James Hutton Institute (JHI)

WP6. Enabling conditions for small farms and small food businesses

In WP6, we will identify the types of tools and mechanisms that are most appropriate for maintaining and enhancing the contribution of small farms to sustainable FNS. The guiding question is: How can small farms and other small food businesses be enabled to capitalize on their distinctive assets and particular efficiencies, and contribute to sustainable FNS? In order to address this question, the empirical evidence on livelihood strategies and small business development pathways identified in WP3 will be re examined, differentiating between the key types of small farms and small food businesses present in the reference regions. The role of supporting frameworks and governance arrangements, as identified in WP5, as well as challenges and future strategies as selected in WP4, will ground this analysis. The recommendations will be designed to be mainstreamed at relevant levels (e.g. regional, national, EU), and will feed into the ongoing implementation of the reformed CAP, the activities of the European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) and the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD). They will also be targeted at the EU Strategy for International Cooperation in Research and Innovation, thus facilitating the further development of the Europe-Africa dialogue. This WP will include the elaboration and practice-testing of an operational framework for guiding decision-makers in the choice of appropriate support instruments, and outline the related evaluation and learning arrangements.

WP Leader: Highclere Consulting S.R.L Romania

WP7. Communication and joint learning

One of the five objectives and a clear priority for SALSA is to strengthen the voice of small farms in the global debate on FNS. WP7 will support all other WPs in enabling and fostering effective communication and joint learning at different levels related to the role of small farms and other small food businesses in FNS. We will, in particular, initiate and enable a Community of Practice (CoP), a multi-stakeholder learning platform to consult, validate and progress the research and enrich the knowledge base on relevant questions. We will use FAO’s well-established TECA online communication and learning platform for SALSA-related communications. TECA will simultaneously be developed further by making project-related findings available. European and African level networks and platforms that we will use include ENRD, ELARD, EIP AGRI, YPARD and PAEPARD. WP7 will be in charge of starting and coordinating all interactions with external stakeholders, in close collaboration with WP leaders and the consortium members responsible for each relevant task, in each of the reference regions. It will also ensure that the research results obtained in SALSA will be disseminated through relevant forums. The interaction with small farmers, rural entrepreneurs engaged in the food sector and their representatives will play an important role throughout the project. The WP7 will also establish an international Expert Stakeholder Panel (ESP) bringing together 12-15 experts and key stakeholders active and/or potentially relevant in small farms and FNS, which will facilitate new links between organizations as well as the organization of a suite of expert consultations, e-conferences and workshops. WP7 will also be responsible for the project website, the planning and organization of a series of moderated e-conferences, and the planning and organization of the final SALSA Conference. 

WP Leader: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Research and Extension Unit (FAO/DDNR)

WP8. Project management and coordination

The goal of WP8 is to secure a balanced and fruitful development of the project. Focus will be on an efficient internal communication and coordination, so that the productive cooperation with external stakeholders will also function. WP8 will be responsible for the administration, coordination and facilitation of all activities. It will also be responsible for securing a well-functioning communication flow with the European Commission. The coordination team will support all WP leaders and co-leaders in the planning and implementation of individual WPs, and ensure the coherence and consistency of the work to be carried out. WP8 is also responsible for coordinating the publication of SALSA outputs, managing information on a dedicated SALSA website, and securing common procedures, for example publication standards and copyright and data controls. 

WP Leader: Universidade de Évora (U Évora)

© Filipe Barroso (Heading Photo)