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Family farms are essential to food security, balanced diets, and biodiversity by preserving traditional food products

Photo credit: FAO

Farmers going to work in the fields of Jalal-Abad Oblast, Kyrgyzstan, in the early morning. Some 80 percent of the world’s food is produced by family farms.

FAO launches digital platform on family farming

New initiative aims to inform policy makers, continue global conversation on food security

Recognizing the contributions of family farmers to food security and poverty eradication worldwide, FAO today launched a new digital platform that aims to become a “one-stop shop” for information, data and legislation on the sector that produces some 80 percent of the world’s food.

“Family farmers feed our communities and take care of our earth — they are crucial allies in the fight against hunger and rural poverty,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said on Tuesday.

By gathering digitized information on family farming from all over the world – including public programs, national and regional legislation, up-to-date statistics, case studies and academic research — the new Family Farming Knowledge Platform will allow governments to build stronger policies in support of family farmers and help policy dialogue with family farmers’ organizations.

“There was a need to share knowledge on family farming-on the different kinds of policies that governments have implemented and the numerous activities of family farmers and their organizations in the field,” said Francesco Pierri, Chief of the Advocacy Unit in FAO’s Office for Partnerships, Advocacy and Capacity Development.

“There is a lot of information available on the web, but it’s scattered — we wanted one single access point for all the information out there, for anybody working in this field to use,” he added.

The initiative is among the main legacies of last year’s International Year of Family Farming (IYFF), which put the spotlight on the contributions and struggles of family farmers in the global challenge to feed a growing population of 9 billion by 2050.

The platform will benefit from the collaboration of partnerships with diverse international entities including governments, family farmers’ networks, UN agencies, NGOs and research organizations.

Governments will be a key partner in the initiative by providing a large portion of the content for the platform’s legal database that allows users to browse through a catalogue of family farming-related policies and programs per country.

After successfully establishing the platform as an international information point, a second phase will expand the initiative to also host online policy dialogues.

Why family farmers

Family farms are owned or managed by families who depend predominantly on family labor.

Family farms are owned or managed by families who depend predominantly on family labor.

While the category is diverse, including not only crop but also fisheries, forestry and livestock production, the vast majority are smallholders or peasant farmers — today, some 72 percent of farms in the world are smaller than one hectare and only 6 percent are bigger than five hectares.

They are essential to local food security and balanced diets and play a key role in maintaining biodiversity by preserving traditional food products.

Read the full article: FAO

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.