Written by 4:36 pm Food

#BTColumn – Family farming and its transformative potential

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by Luiz Beduschi

The previous few years in Latin America and the Caribbean have been complex. The COVID-19 pandemic not only triggered an unprecedented health crisis, but additionally directly caused job losses, and increased poverty and hunger. The difficulties generated by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine added to this difficult panorama, mainly as a consequence of the scarcity of agricultural inputs and the high energy cost.

Family farmers were crucial for keeping agri-food systems working throughout the pandemic. Within the post-pandemic recovery scenario, family farming plays a big role within the vital transformation of rural territories, especially in promoting more progressive, efficient, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) believes that family farming must have a stronger presence on the political decision-making agenda, in implementing public policies, with a budget and concrete actions to transcend words. Due to this fact, it is vital to strengthen the instances of political dialogue on the subregional and regional levels, fostering the encounter between public, private and civil society sectors.

This is the reason we’re promoting a series of initiatives and events to strengthen and enhance family farming.

Our organization is participating within the United Nations Decade of Family Farming (DNUAF), which goals is to create an enabling environment for exchanging experiences, knowledge, mechanisms, instruments and technical support to empower and promote a more sustainable development mechanism for family farmers.

As well as, through the Global Motion Plan for the United Nations Decade of Family Farming, FAO provides detailed guidance to national and native governments, parliaments, academic institutions, the private sector and farmers and producers’ organisations to implement national plans, laws and public policies related to this issue.

On the regional level, five national plans have already been approved to date (Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Panama) and one subregional plan with the Central American Integration System (SICA). As well as, with the assistance of the FAO, the implementation of laws, programs, and meetings to exchange experiences and public policies have been carried out, with the participation of governments, parliaments, and civil society.

As a preparatory body for the Global Forum of the United Nations Decade of Family Farming that can happen from September 19 to 22, the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean carried out a previous consultation to generate inputs for this global discussion. The data collected from this consultation is crucial to find out the overall guidelines that can be promoted within the region, emphasizing the necessity to generate greater governments participation within the Decade of Family Farming.

FAO may also support the second Conference of the Specialized Meeting on Family Farming (REAF) of the Expanded Mercosur on December 5 and 6, promoted by the Agricultural Development Institute (INDAP) from the Ministry of Agriculture of Chile and the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (MGAP) of Uruguay.

Moreover, in close coordination with the REAF and the Decade Secretariat, the Latin American and Caribbean Event of the Decade of Family Farming can be held in Chile on December 6 and seven. This event seeks to advertise and strengthen the actions being carried out in Latin America and the Caribbean inside the framework of implementing the Decade of Family Farming.

Luiz Beduschi is the FAO-RLC territorial development policy officer.

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