Family Farmers Organizations at national and regional levels are contributing to the design of the Decade of Family Farming 2019-2028.

Family farmers’ organizations agree that the UN Decade of Family Farming (2019-2028) offers a unique opportunity to develop public policies to support family farming worldwide. To facilitate the national, regional and global implementation of the Decade, an Action Plan is being developed based on the inputs gathered though a global consultation process designed by FAO and IFAD, seeking for the inputs of all relevant stakeholders through online surveys and direct conversations. The WRF committed itself to contribute to this consultation process by interviewing several key family farming organizations and committees.

Within this framework, 44 interviews were conducted by the WRF at two levels. At national level, 34 interviews were conducted, mainly to National Committees for Family Farming (NCFF Tanzania – TANCOFF, NCFF Uganda-SWAGEN, NCFF Kenya-Inades Kenya, NCFF Tchad-Inades Tchad, NCFF Senegal-CNCR, NCFF Togo-Inades Togo, NCFF Côte d’ivore-Inades Côte d’Ivoire, NCFF Hungary, NCFF Burkina Faso- CPF, NCFF Guinea Bissau, NCFF Burundi-FOPABU, NCFF Gambia, NCFF Madagascar-FIFATA, NCFF Niger, NCFF Nigeria, NCFF Indonesia, NCFF Macedonia, NCFF Costa Rica, NCFF El Salvador, NCFF Bolivia, NCFF Colombia, NCFF Dominican Republic, NCFF Honduras, NCFF Paraguay, FF Platform in Albania, NCFF Nepal, NCFF Kirguistán, NCFF Philippines, NCFF India, NCFF Ghana) and national farmers organizations (Farmers Union Network of Liberia, Plateforme Nationales des Organisations Paysannes et de Producteurs Agricoles du Bénin, MUCECH Chile and CNFR Uruguay).

At regional level, 10 other interviews were conducted to regional farmers organizations (RBM, SACAU, PROPAC, UNMAGRI, ROPPA, EAFF, COPROFAM, PDRR, PIFON, AFA).

The results prove an important commitment from the NCFF and the Regional Farmers’ Organizations to contribute to the design of the Action Plan of the Decade, showing also their huge commitment for the Decade of Family Farming. Some of the most remarkable points highlighted by the organizations are mentioned herein.

Firstly, there is a continuous call for public policies -that should be beyond the shifts in government representatives- to solve the challenges related to: access to market, credit, financial resources, insurance, access to land, seeds, water storage and irrigation facilities, etc. The improvement in public policies should be address from different perspectives:

  • – New policies focused on family farming. Some of the laws and legislative frameworks should also be reviewed and updated according to the needs of family farmers.
  • – Development of active measures and programs for policies and laws implementation; the reform of institutional frameworks, the allocation of funds, and the development of the corresponding regulations to implement them at state, province and village levels.
  • – Laws and regulations advocated by farmers’ organizations and other stakeholders should bring a better life to family farmers. It is necessary to show the impacts, and the Family Farmers organizations would like to participate in monitoring those. Promote “family farmers” monitoring of public affairs.

The organizations interviewed highlighted the need to develop a legislative and regulatory framework on Social Protection for farmers provided by the State and the Agricultural Insurance. These are means of protection against the effects of climate change and which would thereby facilitate access to credit, make the business less vulnerable to climate hazards, promote the local varieties, etc.

In addition, the need to promote the access to effective and functional market systems in rural areas was very much emphasized, improving the capacity of negotiation of family farmers. In the same way, the promotion of products from family farming and local consumption, encouraging local food systems and the valorization of local products was highlighted in several interviews.

The capacity to strengthen family farmers’ organizations (including institutionalization) and through this the participation in the development of public policies should be promoted. Training in leadership, partnership and cooperatives was highlighted, as well as other relevant aspects: the strengthening of their capacity to monitor farmers’ “business” of and increasing farmers’ negotiation capacities; the access to information on markets and prices, the provision of extension services, and the generation of well recognized data by farmers’ organizations.

Especially in some African countries there is a need to effectively recognize the status of the profession of Family Farmers: major provisions of laws in this area should be implemented, such as the registration of family farms and the establishment of social security mechanisms for family farms.

In regards to youth, there is a lack of a real socio-economic integration of rural young people, in all the continents, with huge rates of emigration. The proposals in most cases were related to promoting the generation of added value, the access to new and adaptable technologies and the use of social media for agriculture. The access to land is a major concern for most young people, and there is also a governance issue within the family farm, thus their need of emancipation and autonomy within the family.

Regarding gender, Family Farming is usually named as “women centered” but it is an issue with a lot of views and complex to address. A Women’s Empowerment Policy was suggested, prioritizing women in the access to land, credit, etc.

The National Committees for Family Farming-NCFF, as dialogue platforms including different actors of family farming to discuss the best public policies to be implemented, are seen as key spaces for the implementation of the Decade as well as main entry points. During the Decade it will be important to promote their official recognition, facilitating dialogue with the government and/or the participation of high level ministerial representatives in the NCFF. Also to strengthen their representativeness, through support to the participation of more farmers’ organizations, will be key.

This important effort done by the NCFF and the Regional Farmers’ Organizations, and all the relevant proposals collected through the consultation process will be taken into consideration in the design of the first draft of the Decade Action Plan.

The upcoming VI Global Conference on Family Farming to be held in Bilbao will discuss the draft Action Plan of the Decade of Family Farming among representatives from farmers’ organizations, various governments, international organizations (such as FAO and IFAD), NCFF, rural development associations, cooperatives and research centers from all five continents.