Under the slogan ” Family Farming: Feeding the world, caring for the planet ” , the World Food Day 2014 points out FAO’s (the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). This approach is justified by the own FAO as follows:
Family farming is inextricably linked to national and global food security . In both developed and developing countries, family farming is the predominant agricultural form in the food production sector. Family farmers manage their lands carefully to maintain remarkably high levels of productivity despite having less access to productive resources as inputs and less support ( most studies show an inverse relationship between land size and productivity ).
Family farming preserves traditional foods while contributing to a balanced diet and safeguarding the world’s agricultural biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources . Family farmers are the custodians of a knowledge very well adapted to the local ecology and the capacity of the land. Through local knowledge, they sustain productivity on often marginal lands, through complex and innovative land management techniques. As a result of their deep knowledge of their land and their ability to sustainably manage the diverse landscapes, family farmers are able to improve many ecosystem services .
Family farming represents an opportunity to boost local economies , especially when combined with specific policies aimed at social protection and the well-being of communities . Family farmers have strong economic links with the rural sector, they contribute greatly to employment, especially in developing countries, where agriculture still employs the majority of the workforce. In addition, the additional income generated by family farming is spent on housing, education, clothing, etc. in the local non-agricultural economy.
How to strengthen family farming?
To take advantage of the full potential of family farmers to eradicate hunger and ensure food security , a favorable regulatory environment is needed. This includes a greater recognition of their multiple contributions, and therefore admit it and reflect it in national dialogues and policies. Among the first fundamental steps for countries is to articulate their national definitions of family farming and collect data on the agricultural sector, recognizing and organizing the contributions of farmers in a systematic way. At the national level, there are a number of factors that are key to the successful development of family farming, for example, among others, agroecological conditions and territorial characteristics, access to markets, access to land and natural resources. , to technology and extension services; access to financing, demographic, economic and socio-cultural conditions and the availability of specialized education. Targeted interventions on agricultural, environmental and social policies are needed to support family farmers in order to achieve tangible changes and sustainable improvements.
With this great desiderata not without (good) reasons despite the innumerable difficulties that we all know that will fall to a certain extent on such good intentions, the United Nations declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming (AIAF) and with FAO, in Collaboration with governments, international development organizations, farmer organizations and other relevant organizations of the United Nations system and NGOs, is intended to facilitate the implementation of the following objectives throughout this year :
- Support the development of agricultural, environmental and social policies conducive to sustainable family farming.
- Increase knowledge, communication and public awareness.
- Achieve a better understanding of the needs, potential and limitations of family farming, and guarantee technical assistance.
- Create synergies for sustainability.