29 December 2013

The 2014 International Year of Family Farming is a unique opportunity to make headway on ending world hunger and developing a sustainable food and agricultural system

2014 will be the International Year of Family Farming. It was launched officially on 22 November 2013 at UN Headquarters and is promoted by the World Rural Forum and supported by over 360 civil society and farmers’ organizations.

Family farming, according to the FAO, ‘‘includes all family-based agricultural activities’‘ including crop production, forestry, fisheries, pastoral and aquaculture production ’‘managed and operated by a family and predominantly reliant on family labour’‘.

Family farms produce a major share of world agricultural commodities and are responsible, in most regions of the world, for supplying an overwhelming part of food. It is the most important form of agriculture and coexists with corporate forms of farming. It is estimated that there are around 500 million family farms in the world (FAO). Small family farmers constitute also the bulk of the hungry in the world (approximately 70% according to FAO). Family farms also have an important socio-economic, environmental and cultural role: they preserve traditional food products and maintain agricultural biodiversity. The development of family farming is therefore an important, if not key, element of any strategy to eradicate hunger, but unfortunately, a large proportion of family farms, particularly small family farms, are excluded from development activities and services required to develop, such as agricultural extension, finance and markets, and, being poorly organized in most countries, their political weight remains weak. [read more on exclusion here]

The overall goal of the 2014 International Year of Family Farming is to reposition family farming at the centre of national agricultural, environmental and social policies by promoting broad discussion and cooperation at the national, regional and global levels to increase awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by smallholders and help identify efficient ways to support family farmers.

Specific objectives of the year include:

  1. Promoting policies in favour of the sustainable development of family farming and proper allocation of budgetary resources to this end

  2. Re-enforcing the legitimacy of the farming associations who represent the interests of family farms and their capacity to influence policy making

  3. Increasing the awareness of the public of the importance of family farming

  4. A better recognition of the role and rights of women in family farming

  5. Advocating and defending an international food economy based on rules which foster development and food security in all countries.

At, we believe that the 2014 International Year of Family Farming is a great opportunity for pushing forward some of the basic principles that need to be followed for ending hunger [read more on the 7 principles here]

We also believe that this Year will be a time where the lack of definite action taken by some governments to eradicate hunger will be recognized as a crime against humanity and we hope to get the support from you, our readers, and many more to promote this idea. More on this initiative will be shared with you in the early days of 2014.


To read more on the International Year of Family Farming:

- 2014 International Year of Family Farming - Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth

- FAO site on the International Year of Family Farming


Last update:    December 2013

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