Estimating global and country-level employment in agrifood systems

Global and national policy discourse and agendas are moving beyond traditional silos of agriculture, nutrition, health, and climate change to address the challenges facing agrifood systems (AFS). In this paper, use international labour force statistics to provide the first systematic and documented global estimate quantifying the total number of people employed in AFS. Estimate that 1.23 billion people are employed in AFS and that 3.83 billion people worldwide live in households linked to AFS-based livelihoods. However, international labour force statistics focus on the main labour activity in the last seven days and are likely to undercount the total number of people who are engaged in AFS. Using household survey data from the harmonized multi-country Rural Livelihoods Information System (RuLIS) database, find that the number of people engaged in AFS is on average 24 percent higher than employment defined only by the main labour activity. This analysis shows the relevance of counting secondary jobs and household farming activities to identify all individuals whose livelihoods depend to some degree on AFS.