Participants at the event today stressed that family farmers make a
crucial contribution to the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.
26 May 2019, Rome – Family farmers, who are on the
frontline of global efforts to fight undernourishment and other forms of
malnutrition and to promote healthy eating, require stronger support amid
rising hunger and obesity around the world, the President of the UN General
Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, said in Rome today.
“In a world where one third of the food produced is lost or wasted
and one third of land is used for livestock production, they are vital
socioeconomic actors who can support improved livelihoods, job creation,
community cohesion, and development in rural areas,” she said in remarks to
over 300 participants gathered at an international dialogue co-organized by FAO
and IFAD to discuss challenges and opportunities for family farming.
Espinosa noted that family farmers make an essential contribution to
safeguarding agrobiodiversity and traditional knowledge, in the context of
alarming warnings that nearly 1 million plants and animal species are at risk of
“We also have a huge challenge ahead both in terms of inequality and
quality of food worldwide”, she said highlighting that the world is witnessing
a simultaneous worrisome rise of hunger and obesity rates.
“From pastoralists to indigenous peoples, forest dwellers, family
farmers make a crucial, crucial contribution to the 2030 Agenda for sustainable
development,” she said.
Launch of the United Nations Decade of Family Farming and
Global Action Plan
The meeting took place place ahead of the launch on Wednesday (29
May) of the United
Nations Decade of Family Farming (UNDFF, 2019-2028) and a Global Action
Plan to boost support for family farmers.
Both FAO and IFAD lead activities for the implementation of the
Decade of Family Farming, declared by the United Nations at the end of 2017,
which aims to create a conducive environment that strengthens the position of
family farming, and maximizes family farmers’ contributions to global food
security and nutrition.
“The UN Decade of Family Farming is an opportunity to increase
public awareness on the role that family farmers -many of which are women and
young people- play in our society and in our economies,” she said. “It is an
opportunity to capture and share their knowledge and to promote greater
cooperation between family farmers in different communities and
The Decade is also an opportunity, she added, for governments to
adopt policies to support sustainable and diversified family farming and to
move towards a new paradigm for food systems and rural development where the
focus is “not solely on production but on how to address socioeconomic and
environmental sustainability in tandem.”
Family farmers produce 80 percent of the world’s food, and are
important drivers of sustainable development.
The President of the UN General Assembly said the Decade is also an
opportunity to strengthen family farming organizations and to protect and
promote their rights: “The Declaration on the rights of peasants and other
people working in rural areas adopted by the UN General Assembly last
December represents an important step forward, and we must use this Decade
to make progress in its implementation.”
Also speaking at today’s event, FAO Director-General José Graziano
da Silva stressed that since the adoption of FAO’s strategy for partnerships
with Civil Society Organizations back in 2013, the Organization has opened its
door for family farmers to bring their experience, knowledge and technical
capacity to FAO.
“One of the first initiatives was the implementation of the
International Year of Family Farming, which was very important to raise global
awareness of the importance of family farmers but also for them to be
recognized as family farmers,” he said, noting that family farming is at the
heart of FAO’s work.