The United Nations declared 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming. This is a very important recognition of the multiple social, economic, environmental and cultural functions of family farming. For example, family farmers produce more than 50% of the world’s food, and are important guardians of biodiversity. Creating the conditions for family farming to thrive is essential for a sustainable future.
The threats to family farming are multidimensional. Climate change, land grabbing, land degradation, the aggressive promotion of industrial farming and dependence on large agribusiness chains are some of the most pressing challenges. Many family farmers have proven to be innovative and resilient under the right socio-political framework and conditions – especially when supported by public and institutional policies.
Family farmers can exert a large degree of autonomy through the use of agro-ecological practices and the creation of markets that are based on more direct relationships with consumers. They pool their labour and resources, and increase their yields. They organise themselves and make their voices heard. They build their own educational spaces where they learn from each other and teach others. Women play a key role in these strategies, which are often carried out in close collaboration with local decision makers, researchers, and consumer platforms.
For the December 2013 issue, Farming Matters is looking for the most groundbreaking experiences and visionary ideas on how to strengthen family farming. What are family farmers and their organisations doing to advocate for and enhance their rights and livelihoods? How are governments incorporating agro-ecology into their public policies? What other support mechanisms are
needed to valorise and promote sustainable family farming? How can agro-ecological family farming become an attractive proposition for future generations? What can we learn from existing and emerging practices?
Please send your contributions. Articles for the December issue of Farming Matters should be sent to the editor, Jorge Chavez-Tafur, before October 1st, 2013. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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