Bad harvests, the off-season, taking surplus agricultural land out of production, and the application of new technologies contribute to farm unemployment. In addition to the above, small farms and their employees can be additionally vulnerable because they may be forced out of business by more competitive large farms. The employment opportunities for small farmers may be improved by providing them with alternative employment by diversifying local economies.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends creating non-farm employment opportunities through private small-scale agro-processing units, rural service centres and related infrastructural improvements.