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Family Farming

What is FF?

“Family Farming (which includes all family-based agricultural activities) is a means of organizing agricultural, forestry, fisheries, pastoral and aquaculture production which is managed and operated by a family and predominantly reliant on family labor, including both women’s and men’s. The family and the farm are linked, co-evolve and combine economic, environmental, social and cultural functions”

(Conceptual definition by the International Steering Committee for the 2014 IYFF. FAO, 2013).

Furthermore, family farmers carry out a highly important socioeconomic, environmental and cultural function and therefore affect sustainable development, people and the planet.

Family Farming…

creates employment within and beyond farms themselves

helps to expand rural economies

prevents depopulation and supports the area

conserves and restores biodiversity and ecosystems

utilises production methods that can help to reduce or avert the risks of climate change.

and ensures the transfer of knowledge and traditions from generation to generation

Family farming in figures

Family farming produce more than 80% of the food in the world


Family farms manage around 70-80% of farmland worldwide


More than 90% of farms are run by an individual or a family


WOMEN provide almost 50% % of farm labor, but they only hold 15% of farmland

Family farming in the 2030 Agenda

Family farming performs a key role in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 10 are directly related to family farming (Family Farming in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. WRF, 2017).

In other words, family farming can contribute to the accomplishment of most of the SDS, provided that the measures which support its activities (access to land, water, infrastructure, markets, and financial services) are appropriately handled, paying special attention to the youth and to women.

Slide 1
SDG 2- End hunger

This addresses food, how it is cultivated, produced, consumed, exchanged, transported, stored and marketed, highlighting the fundamental connection between people and the planet, and the pathway to sustainable food security for humanity.

Slide 2
SDG 1 -End poverty

Family farming has a central role as it requires the consolidation of efforts in the rural community that particularly supports the most important stakeholders in the process: family farmers (including small-scale fishers and pastoralists), improving local production capacity and access to food, in addition to establishing social protection systems.

Slide 3
SDG 5- Achieve gender equality and empower all women

The strengthening of women’s status and their rights in family farming, guaranteeing equal access to productive resources, credit facilities, assurance, training and rural extension are essential to the success of this goal.

Slide 4
SDGs 6 and 7 - Ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation and access to affordable, reliable, sustainable modern energy for all

Agriculture is the largest consumer of water (70% of water abstractions) and requires a substantial amount of energy for its full development. The IYFF 2014 confirmed the effectiveness of family farming in sustainable food production and this must be reflected in the policies that underpin this type of production.

Slide 5
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
SDG 15- Promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

If there is adequate investment in the improvement of rural infrastructures, including communications, transport, energy storage, waste efficiency and waste recycling throughout the value chain etc., family farming will have a leading role in the reduction of the high levels of post-harvest losses and food waste.

Slide 6
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Harmonious territorial development is inextricably dependent on the improvement of the permanent rural-urban interrelations that exist because of food systems and many other social and economic aspects.

Slide 7
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Accordingly, it is necessary to offer appropriate and sustainable technologies to enhance the capacity for adaptation, mitigation and resilience in family farming.

Slide 8
SDG 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Small-scale fisheries, which fall under the umbrella term of family farming, account for half of all global fish catches.

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