Family farmers need to be at the centre of transforming agrifood systems, FAO Director-General says
FAO and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are co-organising the Global Forum of the UN Decade of Family Farming 2019-2028 (UNDFF), which is being held virtually from 19-22 September.
It is an opportunity to hear from different actors and hold discussions to identify priority policies and technical areas that will shape the UNDFF agenda for the next period of implementation and will more effectively support family farmers and family farming worldwide.
FAO Director-General QU Dongyu pointed out in his video address to the Global Forum’s opening that the world is moving backwards in its efforts to eliminate hunger and malnutrition. He said the number of people facing hunger increased in 2021, and it risks rising further especially among the most vulnerable, of which almost 80 percent live in rural areas and are small-scale, family farmers. Family farmers around the world are also subject to the challenges created by the climate crisis, by conflicts, and now the war in Ukraine has added further pressure to already fragile agrifood systems.
“This forum offers a platform to: one, discuss the unique role of family farmers in transforming our agrifood systems; two, take stock of achievements and challenges in the implementation of the UN Decade; and three, strengthen collaboration to ensure global food security, enhance livelihoods and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” Qu said.
80 percent of the world’s food
“Family farmers need to be at the centre of efforts to transform agrifood systems if we are to make real progress towards ending hunger,” Qu said. He added that “family farming is the main form of agriculture in both developed and developing countries and is responsible for producing 80 percent of the world’s food,” in terms of value. He also noted that often, these family farmers struggle to feed their own families.
Since its launch three years ago, the UN Decade of Family Farming has been promoting integrated policies and investments to support family farmers, and FAO has been assisting national implementation of international tools and guidelines to strengthen family farming, Qu said.
He also noted that FAO hosts the Family Farming Knowledge Platform to facilitate the exchange of experience, innovation and specialised knowledge. In addition, the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31 includes a priority area of work aimed at better supporting small-scale food producers and delivering concrete results.
Aims of the Global Forum
The main objectives of the Global Forum are to provide a general overview of policy trends and the relevance of family farming vis-à-vis the SDGs and the present global development agenda; highlight the main outcomes of the first three years of implementation; and re-orient the UNDFF agenda according to the challenges of current agrifood systems by sharing experiences and lessons learned from its implementation on the ground.
Participants include government representatives, governmental agencies, representatives of UN agencies, family farmers and their organizations, civil society organizations at global, regional, and national level, as well as NGOs, the private sector, the media and academia.