We are approaching the finale of the International Year of Family Farming, and this year’s World Food Day theme, chosen by the UN, aims to highlight the crucial value that family farms bring into the food we have on our plate every day. It also focuses world’s attention on the significant role of family farming in eradicating hunger and poverty, managing natural resources and protecting the environment. Family farming accounts for almost 80% of the food supply globally and it generates income for hundreds of millions of rural people. Strengthening the role and the status of family farming is particularly important under the climatic and developmental sectors which are likely to disrupt the food supply chain.
There is no doubt that the future of farming, especially smaller family enterprises, faces multiple challenges in different parts of the world, ranging from climate variability to lack of capital and insecure tenure rights. Like any form of family enterprise, family farming depends on the youth to take over from their parents, both in affluent as well as in low-income countries. However, farming is not the most attractive career path for many, and young people often rush for jobs in cities. While youth are abandoning agriculture, family farms become less resilient and more vulnerable to market shocks and environmental risks. Yet people will always need food, so there will always be a demand for farming. Under the right conditions and with supportive policies, family farming, particularly involving youth and women, has proven to be innovative, productive, resilient and effective for development of rural areas.