FAO in North America

Event Alert: National Geographic Launches 8-month Series on Feeding the 9 Billion

Submitted by admin on April 16, 2014

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use

Submitted by admin on April 16, 2014

Food Security and Agriculture face major challenges under climate change, in terms of expected negative impacts on productivity as well as implementation of sectoral actions to limit global warming.

Agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise – although not as fast as emissions from other human activities. Better national data on emissions from farming, livestock-raising, fisheries and forestry can help countries identify opportunities for reducing emissions while addressing their food security, resilience and rural development goals – and gain access to global funding to pursue them.

The new FAOSTAT emissions database represents the most comprehensive knowledge base on agricultural greenhouse gas emissions ever assembled. Updated annually, it provides a global point of reference on emissions and mitigation opportunities in the sector. Emissions are measured in CO2 equivalent (CO2 eq) – a metric used to compare different greenhouse gases.

Related links: http://faostat3.fao.org/faostat-gateway/go/to/download/G1/*/Ehttp://faostat3.fao.org/faostat-gateway/go/to/download/G2/*/E;
Date: 10/04/2014
Topics: Climate change
Download: PDF version

PepsiCo and Coca-Cola back the Voluntary Guidelines on Land Tenure – international recommendations to respect local people’s rights to land and livelihoods

Submitted by admin on April 15, 2014
Both the Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo have vowed to increase their participation in the Committee on World Food Security.

PepsiCo has joined fellow beverage corporation the Coca-Cola Company in giving its official support to a set of global guidelines that protect the rights of poor and vulnerable people to land, livelihoods and food security.

Initiated by FAO and endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security in 2012, the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure promote secure ownership rights and equitable access to land, fisheries and forests as a means of eradicating hunger and poverty, supporting sustainable development and protecting the environment.

The guidelines call for the commitment of both the public and private sectors, and include recommendations to safeguard local people’s rights in the event of large-scale land acquisitions, warding off the phenomenon of land grabs.

PepsiCo has published a policy recognizing its obligations to respect and protect the rights of local people and encouraging its supplier countries to meet certain standards, including the principles listed in the Voluntary Guidelines.

“PepsiCo is committed to doing business the right way and has a zero tolerance for illegal activities in our supply chain and land displacements of any legitimate land tenure holders,” according to the land policy.

In addition to fair and legal negotiations on land transfers and acquisitions in developing countries, the company has pledged to carry out social and environmental assessments across its global supply chains, beginning in Brazil, its top sugar-sourcing country.

Coca-Cola commitment

PepsiCo is the second big beverage company to give its support to the guidelines after the Coca-Cola Company publicized a commitment to land rights in November 2013.

Working with Oxfam, Coca-Cola committed to help protect the land rights of communities and conduct assessments in some of the world’s top sugarcane-producing regions, in addition to implementing a zero tolerance stance on land grabbing.

As part of its commitment, the multinational said it would publicly advocate that food and beverage companies, traders, and sourcing country governments endorse and implement the Voluntary Guidelines.

Both the Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo have also vowed to increase their participation in the Committee on World Food Security to further demonstrate support of responsible land rights practices.

“Securing the official commitment and operational support of both PepsiCo and the Coca-Cola Company is tremendously significant for the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines and we hope that more large private companies will follow their lead,” said Marcela Villarreal, Director of FAO’s Office for Partnerships, Advocacy and Capacity Development.

For this purpose FAO is currently working on a private sector technical guide for the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines, in collaboration with major private sector actors.

“FAO considers compliance with the voluntary guidelines as the baseline for all our partnerships, and we call on all of our current and potential partners to support them,” Villarreal said.

Field Intern Series – Morgan Shaver, from Cornell University to FAO Malawi

Submitted by Amy McMillen on April 14, 2014

Morgan Shaver, a student from Cornell University, provided research support on the Livestock Pass-On Program for the FAO office in Malawi.

In 2004, Malawi was devastated with a severe drought. With 85% of its population earning an income with a job associated with agriculture, not only industries, but also livelihoods were ruined. In response to this tragedy, the Flanders International Cooperation Agency (FICA) and FAO implemented the Improving Food Security and Nutrition Policy and Program Outreach Project. One segment of this project is called the Livestock Pass-On Program. In the program, selected at-risk beneficiaries receive livestock (either goat, dairy cow, pig, sheep, chicken or guinea fowl) and pass on the first-born female offspring to the next beneficiary. And the cycle then continues.

During my winter break I was able to do a qualitative analysis of this Livestock Pass-On Program in the field offices of Kasungu and Mzimba. The qualitative analysis looked at how the program is affecting the household income, nutrition, and livelihoods of the participating beneficiaries. It considered how beneficiaries were using their livestock, to what extent they had received trainings, what challenges and constraints they faced  within the program, whether or not they had sold their livestock and/or livestock  products and what challenges they faced to do so, how livestock and livestock products were shared in the community, and finally, what recommendations the beneficiaries had for the program.

I accompanied FAO staff as they administered questionnaires with beneficiary farmers and was able to  witness how the Livestock Pass-On Program fit into each community. Being in the field was the highlight of this opportunity. I was able to experience, observe, and learn about each individuals experience within the program and how it has improved their quality of life. Not only that, but I was also able to experience the beautiful culture and people of Malawi. Many of the villages greeted us with song and dance, livestock group meetings were opened and closed with a prayer, and I even received a chicken as a token of appreciation from a women’s goat group. Believe me, Malawi is truly the “Warm Heart of Africa”.

I will never be able to thank all of the FAO Staff in Kasungu, Mzimba, and Lilongwe enough for all of their support and open arms during the internship. This field experience has taught me the complexity of evaluating a program and renewed within me the importance of genuinely listening to the most important people, the people on the ground.

GFAR Spearheads Open Source Agriculture Data

Submitted by Amy McMillen on April 10, 2014

Open source agriculture data program will help to increase value of data. (Internet Concept of a Global System and Business (Shutterstock))

This article is shared with permission from FoodTank.org.

by Steven Gnatovich

In an effort to make agricultural research more widely available, The Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) officially launched the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) platform in October of 2013. The GODAN program, born from the 2012 G8 conference, “Open Data in Agriculture,” is designed to make agricultural data open, shared and available. According to Kerry Albright, Senior Agricultural Research Analyst at the U.K. Department for International Development and a leader on the project, “we have a vision of a data revolution for the agriculture and nutrition sectors, fueled by openness and believe that open data can help combat food insecurity today while laying the groundwork for a sustainable agricultural system to feed a population that is projected to be more than nine billion by 2050.”

The 27 members of the United Nations High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on post-2015 development goals agree, a data revolution is needed. Proponents of open data argue that the lack of “institutional, national, and international policies and openness of data limits the effectiveness of agricultural and nutritional data from research and innovation.” Simply, if research data is not available for use, then the data is not adding actionable value.

GODAN receives support from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), GFAR and other members of the Coherence in Information for Agricultural Research for Development (CIARD) movement. According to the CIARD, “the GODAN partners include many of the same actors that already support CIARD so the two will be highly complementary to each other.” GFAR similarly sees the marriage of institutional support with open data expertise as mutually beneficial: “The GODAN initiative brings valuable support to GFAR and CIARD in their actions to bring open access to agricultural data and information, with its focus on building high-level policy and public and private institutional support for open data.”

On April 22-24, 2014, GODAN project members will meet at the FAO headquarters in Rome to review GODAN progress, develop effective policies and detail their two-year project plan.

The Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) brings together all those working to strengthen and transform agricultural research for development around the world. During 2014 and the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF), GFAR is working with Food Tank to showcase and raise awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by smallholders and help identify efficient ways to support family farmers.

Steven Gnatovich received his B.A. from Loyola University of Chicago in the Spring of 2011, majoring in Political Science and International Studies. After spending two years doing market research in Chicago, he elected to pursue a year of creative writing. In doing so, he discovered a passion for the written word. His passion for food and food systems is motivated by his personal commitment to local solutions.

FAO and Canada to help Philippine coconut farmers rehabilitate their livelihoods hit hard by Typhoon Haiyan

Submitted by admin on April 9, 2014

Canada commits CAD$ 6 million to support more than 11 000 coconut farming households in the country

Manila, Philippines - Small scale coconut farmers in the Philippines will soon receive assistance to restore their livelihoods severely affected by last year’s Typhoon Haiyan, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said today.

It is estimated that in Region VIII alone, some 33 million coconut trees were either damaged or destroyed, affecting the livelihoods of more than one million coconut farmers.

Given that coconut trees take six to eight years to reach productivity, small-scale coconut farmers need interim support to engage in livelihood diversification activities to ensure an income, as most relied solely on coconut trees as a source of livelihood.

Working with the Government of the Philippines, and supported by the Government of Canada, FAO will work to enable small-scale coconut farmers to begin the process of intercropping, crop-diversification and livelihood/poultry raising activities. This will help these communities secure their livelihoods while waiting for the newly planted coconut trees to become productive.

Canada’s Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Neil Reeder, reaffirmed in Manila today the commitment made last week by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to early recovery and long-term reconstruction programmes including disaster risk reduction activities in the Philippines.

Community and needs-based approach

The CAD$ 6 million confirmed by Canada to FAO will help FAO and the Government of the Philippines support the rehabilitation efforts for small scale coconut farmers. Acting FAO Representative in the Philippines, Rajendra Aryal, highlighted the importance of the community and needs-based approach so as to ensure that what is being delivered meets the real needs of the typhoon affected small scale coconut farmers.

“I want to express my sincere thanks for this Canadian contribution, as it will enable FAO to support more than 11,000 coconut farming households. After having consulted local communities, in close collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform, Philippine Coconut Authority, Bureau of Animal Industries and other relevant Government institutions, we will be providing small-scale coconut farmers with vegetable seeds and also seeds for tubers such as cassava and sweet potatoes, which take only about three months to grow,” Aryal said. “Further, the farming communities will be provided with poultry and small livestock ruminants and post-harvest equipment.”

Crop diversification and intercropping will provide key access to income and restore self-sufficiency, building the resilience of communities to withstand future disasters.

“Our approach is very much demand based and very much community driven,” Aryal emphasized.

Making landfall four months ago, Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) claimed over 6,200 lives, displaced millions and devastated the agriculture and fisheries sectors. Striking between two planting seasons, the typhoon destroyed ready-to-harvest, harvested and newly planted rice crops, and severely affected the livelihoods of the coastal fisher communities.

FAO responded to an official Government request for support to affected rice farmers, providing 75 percent of the Government-requested rice seeds. Thanks to this coordinated response by FAO, the Government and other partners, farmers who would otherwise have been unable to plant in time for the December/January planting season were able to go back to their fields, and will soon be harvesting the first rice crop since the typhoon hit the country.

Learn more about FAO’s Typhoon Haiyan Response.

Learn more about FAO’s work in the Philippines.

For more information please contact:

Veronika Danna
FAO Communication Associate

Thyphoon Yolanda/Haiyan Response
(+63) 949 685 96 68

Event Alert: World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings + CSO Forum in Washington, DC

Submitted by Gabriel Laizer on April 8, 2014

The 2014 Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group (WBG) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be held on April 11 – 13 in Washington, DC.

As in previous years, the WBG and IMF Civil Society Teams have organized a week-long Civil Society Program (from April 7 – 12) which will include CSO Roundtable with Executive Directors, CSO Reception, and over 60 policy dialogue sessions on a wide range of topics such as safeguards, fiscal transparency, energy, inequality, jobs, ending poverty.  The Forum will bring together WBG and IMF staff, CSO representatives, government officials, academics, and others to exchange views and dialogue on the topics above and much more.

The FAO Liaison Office for North America will be represented at the CSO Forum by the Director for the Liaison Office for North America. Topics such as resilience, agriculture and food-based approaches to malnutrition, youth employment challenges and increasing agricultural productivity in Africa are of interest to the FAO and will be discussed during the this Forum.

Most of the events during the Spring Meetings will be webcast. Click here to view some of the live events.

UN Rome-based agencies reveal food security and nutrition targets for post-2015 agenda

Submitted by admin on April 4, 2014

Liberian President and Italian Vice-Minister join high-level meeting of FAO, IFAD, WFP

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) unveiled today the results of their joint work to develop targets and indicators for a new global development paradigm for sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition.

This is a critical piece in the three agencies’ contribution to the ongoing intergovernmental discussions on the post-2015 development agenda, the successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The targets and indicators were presented at a high-level meeting at WFP headquarters, where the President of the Republic of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was guest of honour. The Italian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lapo Pistelli also attended the meeting.

Representatives from the three agencies stressed the need to finish the job of the MDGs that expire in 2015, but also to broaden their scope to address deeper issues of universal relevance like malnutrition, sustainable and inclusive food systems, and their inter-linkages. The three agencies identified a list of five targets:

  • Access to adequate food all year round for all people.
  • End malnutrition in all its forms with special attention to stunting.
  • Make all food production systems more productive, sustainable, resilient and efficient.
  • Secure access for all small food producers, especially women, to adequate inputs, knowledge, productive resources and services.
  • More efficient post-production food systems that reduce the global rate of food loss and waste by 50 percent.

The UN Rome-based agencies emphasized that progress in these areas would have to come through innovative partnerships – among governments, with the private sector, with development institutions, and with all members of society, from producers to consumers.

New governance mechanisms would also be needed to monitor impact, ensure accountability, and give different stakeholders a voice in decision-making. Attention was drawn to the important role in global food security of small-scale food producers, who need to be at the centre of new investments and new partnerships for a hunger-free world.

“The overarching priority of the post-2015 development agenda is the eradication of poverty in all its forms,” said President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Co-Chair of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the post-2015 development agenda.

“The Common African Position drawing from the African Union’s 2063 long-term agenda is a resolve to deliver on our various declarations and commitments on the social and economic integration, poverty eradication, and employment generation for our people. It aims to reorient the development paradigm away from externally-driven initiatives toward domestically-inspired and funded initiatives.”

Zero Hunger

The new targets are in line with the UN Secretary-General’s Zero Hunger Challenge, which envisions a world where, within our lifetime, no-one experiences chronic hunger and malnutrition. The work of the three Rome-based agencies has been consistently inspired by this shared vision.

FAO Deputy Director-General for Natural Resources, Maria Helena Semedo, stated that the targets would inform UN Member States currently negotiating a set of sustainable development goals.

“There can be no sustainable development without eradicating hunger,” she said. “We believe that incorporating these five targets in the post-2015 development agenda will ensure a more comprehensive approach to tackling hunger, food insecurity, malnutrition – to nourishing people while nurturing the planet,” she noted.

Highlighting the collaboration of the UN agencies IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze said: “A future of ‘zero hunger’ will not be built by any one organization in isolation. We know that we are stronger and more effective when we work in partnership, including with the billions of rural women and men who work hard each day to ensure our food security.”

“Food security and nutrition play a critical role in shaping a brighter tomorrow for today’s most vulnerable families particularly the children. Eliminating hunger unlocks the potential of individuals, communities and nations,” said WFPExecutive Director, Ertharin Cousin. “Achieving these goals will require hardwiring equity into economic growth assuring no one is left behind.”

The three UN agencies stressed that successes associated with the MDGs have been substantial in some areas, such as halving the number of people living in extreme poverty, dramatically increasing the number of people with access to safe drinking water as well as boosting primary school enrolment.

But the agencies emphasized that gains were by no means universal and much work still needed to be done given that around 840 million people remain chronically hungry and that poverty continues to be pervasive in rural areas around the world.

The new development goals to be set by the UN General Assembly in 2015 should therefore be a catalyst towards the realization of the right to adequate food, improved nutrition, gender equality, focus on smallholders and sustainable and resilient food systems.

Think.Eat.Save Gives the Tone

Submitted by Amy McMillen on April 3, 2014

This article is shared with permission from FoodTank.org.

Young Professionals’ Platform for Agricultural Research and Development (YPARD) discusses the merits of the U.N. Environment Program’s Think.Eat.Save campaign. (shutterstock)

by Berlin Schaubhut

In the words of the United Nations (U.N.) under the Secretary General and U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner, “In the world of 7 billion people set to grow to 9 billion by 2050, wasting food makes no sense economically, environmentally and ethically.” As “turn off the lights” was an electricity saving campaign, “Think.Eat.Save” is a campaign set to reduce food waste through the collective actions at different levels of producers, retailers, and consumers.

I was shattered to learn that the food waste produced annually around the globe is more than enough to feed 900 million hungry people in the world. Also, every year one third of all food products gets lost or wasted equivalent to 1.3 billion tons [Jose Graziano Da Silva, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in the article “Food Loss Mean Hunger” in Our planet; the magazine of the UNEP-May 2013] - quite another traumatizing fact!

Most of us are unknown to the facts that, after every meal there would be a pile of food left at the side of our plate, a lot of food thrown away from the fridge everyday and  many more irresponsible activities contributing to increase the cost of food waste and the problems of food and nutrition insecurity. Indeed, at least one third of everything we grow on this planet is lost between the field and the consumer. It is an ethical, economic and environmental issue given the enormous waste of energy, water, fertilizers, and other inputs as a result of food being produced but never eaten.

Each one of us can do something about this and that’s why, through the Think.Eat.Save Reduce Your Foodprint campaign, all the people across the world should join hands in an effort to both raise awareness and to take practical actions whether in our home, whether on our farm, whether in the supermarket, in a canteen, in a hotel, or anywhere else where food is prepared and consumed.

The consumer level of food waste is not a severe problem in the developing country like Nepal; here the main problem is caused by logistic, managerial, and infrastructural challenges in the early stages of food chain from production to market. This is the story of every rural household of our country where we rest upon manual measures to carry out these activities and we do not even have food safety friendly practices of post harvest operations like harvesting, threshing, transportation and effective measures to store the products. My mother explained to me that due to the lack of effective production and harvesting measures, she gains half of what she has actually worked for. I feel pity to see the small storekeepers throwing out kilos of rotten onions and potatoes each day, which causes economical and environmental challenges and also the decreasing food security globally.

Tackling post-harvest loss is not rocket science. It does not require technological breakthroughs or years of high level scientific research. But preventing food that could nourish the hungry from being lost early in the food chain requires the coordinated efforts of many actors. National governments should take the lead in their own countries and embrace solutions at a policy framework level. Addressing waste across the food chain must be a critical pillar of future national food strategies. International agencies and NGOs also need to coordinate their efforts fully to support farmers in growing more, growing better and accessing markets. And community leaders must help their people understand and work together to prevent their maize, rice, beans or other staple crops from being damaged or destroyed.

But, in industrialized nations the people have a different story plot. The infrastructural, logistic and managerial challenges are aptly tackled so that the problems of production, harvesting and storage are of less significant. In developed industrial countries especially, food waste is at a consumption issue. Many consumers dispose of food that could still be eaten because they misunderstand the expiry date or because they bought too much and stored it inappropriately. But due to advancement and development, producers, retailers and consumers discard the food that is still fit for consumption.

Professional storage, processing and packaging technologies, custom-designed for specific purposes, are exceedingly useful in avoiding food waste along the entire production and supply chain. After harvest, industrial and bulk packaging protects against pest infestations. During transport, packaging protects sensitive foods against weather and transport-related damage. At retail, it helps food stay fresh longer, regardless of climatic conditions. And in households, the trustworthiness, safety, usability, and size of a package determines how much it is consumed rather than tossed in the rubbish.

Driving down food waste in the value chain won’t be easy and it will take long-term sustained programs to make progress. But through such measures, by and working effectively with other leading authorities in this field, we think we can start making a difference right away. Reducing food waste to help ensure adequate food supplies over time is one of the biggest challenges our planet is facing. Only increased public awareness and a better understanding of the problem can lead to political and economic actors working towards possible solutions, and to producers and consumers changing and optimizing their every-day behavior and the way they handle food. But by using our scale for good, we believe we can play our part in shaping the solution.

Sustainable food security is only possible if production is intensified in a sustainable way, while fostering sustainable consumption. Searching for ways to reduce food waste, together with all the stake­holders involved is to be made another priority. In addition improved production systems and developing a sound scientific basis for resource-saving consumption patterns and diets will bring our agriculture and food economy onto a more sustainable path and create positive spill-over effects for the whole world.

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Young Professionals’ Platform for Agricultural Research and Development, also known as YPARD, is an international network of on-line and off-line communications for young professionals to express ideas, exchange information and connect with other passionate entrepreneurs in the field of agriculture.

Family farming is the backbone of Africa

Submitted by admin on March 31, 2014

FAO and AMARC release audio interviews

Audio interviews (English only) and speakers

In conjunction with the Regional Conference for Africa(Tunis, 24-28 March 2014), the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) and FAO have released four audio interviews in English on the topic of family farming in the region.

In sub-Saharan Africa, almost 239 million people face serious consequences related to food security and nutrition. Family farming is an effective model that can provide solutions to overcome this challenge. During the African Regional Dialogue on family farming (6-7 November 2013, Cape Town, South Africa), participants identified specific actions for effective and sustainable collaboration in order to achieve food and nutrition security in the continent. They also recognized family farming as a way of life that contributes to the intergenerational transmission of knowledge, preservation of the environment, natural resources and cultural heritage. However, sustainable investments to fund agriculture and agricultural policies in favour of family farmers are still needed. The following interviews encompass participants’ opinions and recommendations during the dialogue.

In conjunction with the Regional Conference for Africa(Tunis, 24-28 March 2014), the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) and FAO have released four audio interviews in English on the topic of family farming in the region.

In sub-Saharan Africa, almost 239 million people face serious consequences related to food security and nutrition. Family farming is an effective model that can provide solutions to overcome this challenge. During the African Regional Dialogue on family farming (6-7 November 2013, Cape Town, South Africa), participants identified specific actions for effective and sustainable collaboration in order to achieve food and nutrition security in the continent. They also recognized family farming as a way of life that contributes to the intergenerational transmission of knowledge, preservation of the environment, natural resources and cultural heritage. However, sustainable investments to fund agriculture and agricultural policies in favour of family farmers are still needed. The following interviews encompass participants’ opinions and recommendations during the dialogue.

Audio interviews (English only) and speakers

Audio1 – Modernizing family farming and engaging youth
Lily Musaya, Women in Agribusiness in Sub-Sahara Africa Alliance (WASAA) and Project Officer of the Liu Lathu Programme (Malawi)

Family farming-Ms Musaya describes family farming as a traditional method of farming with a long history. She explains that originally family farming was solely a means to provide food for families but more recently African families are using it as a source of income.  According to Ms Musaya the traditional concept of family farming needs to be modernized, family farming is not just a way to feed one’s immediate family but has the potential to be a successful business that can have a much wider impact.

Gender issue – Women farmers in Africa should be empowered to take on more responsibilities at a higher ‘entrepreneurial ‘ level.  However, Ms Musaya underlines that it is fundamental for farmer organizations to analyse the existing gender issues in the communities where projects are going to be implemented. Traditionally African women and men have different roles in family farming; it is crucial to take these into consideration in order to use resources effectively.  Projects should be tailor made according to community needs and structures.

Engaging youth- The future of family farming depends on youth. Making family farming more attractive to young people is crucial. With the appropriate enabling environments in place, family farming can be a successful and attractive business.  The modernization and mechanization of family farming may also make it more appealing to younger generations.

Audio 2 – Promotion of agricultural cooperatives and the role of women
Veronica Vries, Director General of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, South Africa

In this interview Ms Vries underlines the importance of unlocking every family’s potential to farm their land, she refers to the “one family, one food garden” initiative in South Africa. (Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries).  Ms Vries talks about a time when most families could get food from their back gardens and how this has now been “outsourced to supermarkets”.   She mentions that countries have been working on how to recognize and enhance family farming, and the African Regional Dialogue is an opportunity to extract the key lessons and formulate a strong message that ultimately enables Africa to feed itself. Ms Vries gives two examples of how the potential of family farming can be maximized:

  • Agricultural cooperatives – if households began forming cooperatives, these could play an important role in achieving food security.
  • Women – if women had the same resources as men (access to the land, land ownership and other inputs) they would be able to produce enough food to take millions of people out of hunger.

Audio 3 – Challenges facing African family farmers
Series of short interviews with participants (farmers and civil society representatives) during the FAO Regional Dialogue in Africa

According to participants attending the Regional Dialogue, family farmers face many challenges including:

  • Lack of financial investment and support – Despite farmers accounting for over 55% of the population in Africa, support and investment remain low. The inputs from governments often benefit commercial farmers over small scale and family farmers. Additionally, it would be beneficial to provide all family farmers with a sort of “kick start kit”.
  • Incoherent agricultural policies
  • Unfair prices and access to markets
  • Lack of cooperation and participation – Most farmers are unaware of national agricultural policies. Family and small-scale farmers should be more involved in the formulation of policies as they are fully conscious of their needs and the challenges they face.
  • Lack of technology and knowledge- More investments should to be made in technology and access to the latest machinery to help farmers reach their full potential. Additionally, farmers need to keep up to date on new methods especially in light of climate change.
  • Climate change- Farming systems need to adapt to changes in climate.
  • Urban migration- Invest in youth by making family farming more attractive to younger generations.

Audio 4 – Making family farming profitable in sub-Saharan Africa
Professor Wale Adekunle, Director of Partnerships and Strategic Alliances of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa

In this interview Professor Wale Adekunle describes family farming as a system where the farm unit is owned by a family and passed from generation to generation. In most cases labour is sourced directly from the family although it can also be external.  Mr Adekunle points out that family farming is practiced all over the world and in some cases can be very profitable. However, this is not the case in Africa where family farming is often associated with poverty. One of the main challenges in sub-Saharan Africa is engaging youth by making family farming more profitable in the region.

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