UN Decade of Family Farming Launched Today!
A New Hope for Smallholders: UN Launches Decade of Family Farming
Family farming and smallholders play an essential role in producing food, sustaining rural economies, and acting as stewards of biodiversity. This is now recognized by the United Nations through its launch of the Decade of Family Farming (UNDFF) today in Rome. This decade aims to inspire the international community to generate refreshed political commitment in supporting family farmers and crafting pro-family farming policies.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will lead the implementation of the Decade in collaboration with other relevant organizations of the United Nations system. These organizations invite governments and other relevant stakeholders, including international and regional organizations, civil society, the private sector, and academia to actively support the implementation of the Decade.
Download UNDFF flyer here.
Organic agriculture based on the scientific discipline of agro-ecology is the most appropriate way to achieve ecological, agronomic, and socio-economic intensification of family farming and smallholder agriculture. IFOAM – Organics International is therefore actively engaged in the implementation of the Decade through its network from the local to the global level.
Together with the Intercontinental Network of Organic Farmers Organizations (INOFO) we advocate at all levels for more sustainable food systems that bring resilience to family farms. Our delegation for the launch event in Rome includes three organic farmers: 1) Shamika Moné, President of INOFO, 2) Daniel Wanjama, INOFO Convenor and CEO of the Seed Savers Network in Kenya, and 3) Gunsham Seeborun, President of the Falcon Citizen League in Mauritius, as well as Cristina Grandi, Chief Food Security Campaigner at IFOAM – Organics International, and Pedro Guzman, focal point for the National Committee on Family Farming in Colombia.
In her speech, Ms. Moné highlighted how the Green Revolution has brought about unsustainable agricultural and food systems in India, resulting in a degradation of soils and ecosystems, a huge loss in agro-biodiversity of 85% of traditional rice varieties and 90% of traditional cattle breeds, and a dependence on chemical fertilizers, inputs, and subsidies. She warned participants: “It’s high time we understood the importance of traditional knowledge with the family farmers and their skill of keeping and conserving traditional seeds on their farms for generations together. And organic farmers be considered as multiversities of knowledge and not just beneficiaries receiving information from government universities.” Ms. Moné gave many examples of how bad policy making in India has reduced biodiversity in all facets while efforts of the local community, organic small family farmers, and seed keepers have played a pivotal role in maintaining their nearby natural resources during the last decades.
Organic farmers worldwide ensure that traditions are kept alive and facilitate marketplace success by sharing experiences and developing new farming methods. We need to empower them and create a conducive policy environment for them to continue farming.
As Ms. Grandi explains: “What we need is a family- and smallholder-friendly food and farming system. An agro-ecological, science-based system that relies on local inputs and is transparent.”
contest identifies solutions for a path forward
Using over 330 innovative and replicable ideas identified in the recent Solutions Search contest, IFOAM – Organics International is ready to share experiences on sustainable farming solutions connecting agriculture, family livelihoods, and environmental protection. Moreover, we are looking forward to the opportunities UNDFF will provide family farmers around the globe to share their knowledge and engage in making the initiative we fight for a success.