ISLAMABAD: The United Nations is launching next week a Decade of Family Farming (2019-28) which provides a unique opportunity to ensure food security, improve livelihoods, better manage natural resources, protect the environment and achieve sustainable development, particularly in rural areas.
Data compiled by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says family farms produce more than 80 per cent of the food in the world and they occupy around 70 to 80pc of farmland worldwide. Women hold only 15pc of farmland, while they provide almost 50pc of farm labour. More than 90pc of farms are run by an individual or a family who rely primarily on family labour. There are more than 600 million farms in the world today.
A ‘Global Action Plan’ fuelled a robust process of political dialogue among the 197 member states of the FAO, involving all relevant actors, which resulted in the formulation of national and regional policies, programmes, activities and institutional arrangements in support of family farming. The official ceremony for launch of the decade is taking place at FAO headquarters in Rome on Monday.
The purpose of action plan is to mobilise concrete, coordinated actions to overcome challenges family farmers face, strengthen their investment capacity, and thereby attain the potential benefits of their contributions to transform societies and put in place long-term and sustainable solutions.
The Global Action Plan aims at accelerating actions undertaken in a collective, coherent and comprehensive manner to support family farmers, who are key agents of sustainable development.
Family farmers hold unique potential to become key agents of development strategies. Family farming is the predominant form of food and agricultural production in both developed and developing countries, producing over 80pc of the world’s food in value terms. Given the multidimensional nature of family farming, the farm and family, food production and life at home, farm ownership and work, traditional knowledge and innovative farming solutions, the past, present and future are all deeply intertwined.
To feed the world and do it sustainably, an urgent and radical shift in our food systems is necessary. To be effective, transformative actions must address a complex set of interconnected objectives encompassing economic, social and environmental dimensions.
Family farmers — including pastoralists, fishers, foresters, indigenous people and other groups of food producers — are at the heart of this issue. They provide the majority of the world’s food, are the major investors in agriculture and the backbone of the rural economic structure.