2014: the Year of Family Farming

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has named 2014 the International Year of Family Farming.

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In an FAO survey of 93 countries, family farmers accounted on average for over 80% of all holdings. “In developed and developing countries alike, they are the main producers of food consumed locally, the primary stewards of food security,” said FAO director-general José Graziano da Silva. According to the FAO, about 842 million people were chronically hungry because they could not afford to eat adequately, despite the fact that the world had a net food surplus.

“And as we look towards 2050, we have the additional challenge of feeding a population that’s eating more – and sometimes better, healthier diets – and which is expected to surpass the nine billion mark,” Da Silva said. He said that family farming need not and should not be done in opposition to large-scale, specialised farming. Instead, family farmers had transmitted knowledge and skillsfrom generation to generation, preserving and improving many practices and technologies that could support agricultural sustainability.