The United Nations (UN) has declared 2014 as the year of family farming. In both developed and developing countries, the FAO tallies over 400 million family farms that primarily rely on family members for labor and management. The role of family farming in eradicating hunger is a decisive one, especially in developing nations where family farms represent 80 percent of all farms. The European Union accounts for 12 million family farms. For Dacian Ciolos, they are part of the solution toward competitive and resilient farming.
We highly recommend the FAO announcement that we are reproducing below . Speaking at a conference on November 29, 2013 in Brussels, FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva praised the European Union for its commitment to promoting family farming, and urges the E.U. to share “its rich tradition” and “valuable experience”. The COPA-COGECA did not wait for the FAO declaration to highlight the now more than ever crucial role of family farming “in an increasingly uncertain world marked by price volatility and growing demand for food worldwide.”
Will the new Common Agricultural Policy be able to safeguard the European family farming, which is raised as an example by the FAO? For if we take a closer look at the procedures of the new reform, we risk seeing family farming being replaced by financialized agriculture. Consequently, the results of this policy might be rather deficient regarding the defense of family farms and the adequate standard of living for farmers.
momagri Editorial Board
“Europe’s rich tradition and valuable experiences should be shared with world”
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva praised the European Union for the commitment it has shown to making the International Year of Family Farming in 2014 a success.
Speaking at the Conference "Family farming: a dialogue towards more sustainable and resilient farming in Europe and the world", Graziano da Silva said in Brussels that "Europe has a rich tradition in family farming and valuable experiences to be shared. The International Year of Family Farming offers an opportunity for this exchange."
"Differently from large-scale specialized farming, [family farms] usually run diversified agricultural activities which help preserve natural resources," he said. "Family farmers have, over generations, preserved and perfected many practices and technologies that can support agricultural sustainability."
Graziano da Silva spoke of misconceptions of the role of family farmers that prevented them making a greater contribution to ending hunger in developing countries and to preserving the environment in a global context.
"Not too long ago, family farmers were often seen as the subject of social policies and not as productive actors. They were considered part of the hunger problem. This is the mindset we need to change with the International Year of Family Farming," he said.
"And when I say farmers, I include smallholders and medium scale farmers, as is the case here in Europe, as well as peasants, indigenous peoples, traditional communities, fishermen, pastoralists, collectors and many other groups," he added.
In Europe, Gerd Sonnleitner, from Germany, President of the European Farmers Association, will be a special ambassador for the Year.
The International Year of Family Farming honours over 400 million family farms in both developed and developing countries, defined as farms that rely primarily on family members for labour and management.
Such farms produce the food that feeds billions of people. In many developing countries family farms make up on average up to 80 percent of all farm holdings.
1 The full text of the FAO story is available from: http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/209053/icode/