A significant share of the world’s farmers are Family Farmers (FF). In sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 80% of farms are family owned and worked. At the global level, 1.5 billion households depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.
Family Farming represents the economic model of agriculture on which most of these families depend. It is also the basis of the sustainable production of food, the management of the environment and its biodiversity, and an important part of the cultural dimension of people and communities. Family farmers represents a fundamental pillar in the development of countries. They are responsible for producing most of the world’s food, but despite their critical role they face many challenges, i.e. difficulties in accessing resources and raw materials, the aging of the population and the lack of generational renewal, scarce managerial skills, lack of training and financial assistance, price volatility, and exclusion from relevant discussion fora affecting their livelihoods.
The food crisis the world is facing has renewed the interest in this economic model. The 2014 International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) represents a unique opportunity to re-launch this important and sustainable agricultural model, ensuring it amongst the key priorities on the international development agenda.
Mr Pedro Marcelo Arias, Trade and Markets Division Technical Officer, FAO, Rome
Mr Daniel Gad, Board Member, Ethiopian Horticultural Cooperatives, Addis Ababa
Ms Nancy Malanos, Professor Faculty of Law, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Rosario, Argentina Ms Sarala Gopalan, President, India National Institute of Agriculture, New Delhi
Ms Marcela Villarreal, Director, Office of Partnerships, Advocacy and Capacity Development, FAO, Rome