Issue 069 – Family Farmers Feeding the World
Family farmers produce more than half of the world’s food. The United Nations declared 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming. This is a very important recognition of the multiple social, economic, environmental and cultural functions of family farming. For example, family farmers produce more than 50% of the world’s food and are important guardians of biodiversity. Creating the conditions for family farming to thrive is essential for a sustainable future. The threats to family farming are multi-dimensional. But family farmers have proven to be innovative and resilient under the right socio-political framework and conditions – especially when supported by public and institutional policies. Family farmers exert a large degree of autonomy. They do this through the use of agroecological practices and the creation of new markets that are suitable to their context. They pool their labour and resources and increase their yields. They organise themselves and make their voices heard. They build their own educational spaces where they learn from each other and teach others. Women play a key role in these strategies, which are often carried out in close collaboration with local decision-makers, researchers, and consumer platforms This issue shows a range of experiences in East Africa and beyond that set examples that may be amenable to replication.