Estimating the global number and distribution of maize and wheat farms
Strategic planning for global agricultural R&D is hampered by a lack of comparable data on target populations. Surprisingly, even the global number of crop-specific farms are unavailable for any given year. We estimate the number of farms growing maize and wheat – the two most important cereals globally – at multiple geographic scales. For 2020, we estimate that a third and a fifth of global farms cultivated maize and wheat respectively. For 2030, we estimate the number of maize farms to increase by 5% (from 216 to 227 million) and wheat farms to decrease by 4% (from 135 to 130 million). Our estimation approach can be extended to other crops, and can contribute to improved agricultural investment programming.