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The U.N. Aims to Unite Efforts for the Decade of Family Farmers

The U.N. General Assembly declares the Decade of Family Farming 2019–2028. Photo credit Bekah Vigil

The U.N. General Assembly has officially declared 2019–2028 the Decade of Family Farming. Initially proposed in October 2017, the resolution passed with 104 co-sponsors and unanimous approval. The Decade aims to inspire the international community to generate a refreshed political commitment supporting family farmers and crafting pro-family farming policies.

The resolution acknowledges family farmers as key leaders in the pursuit of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically in “ensuring global food security, eradicating poverty, ending hunger, conserving biodiversity, achieving environmental sustainability, and helping to address migration.”

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) most recent report “The State of Food and Agriculture”, about 750 million of the world’s extremely poor work in agriculture, usually as smallholder family farmers. Family farmers produce more than 80 percent of the world’s food and control 75 percent of all agricultural resources.

The Decade serves as an international effort to empower family farmers and expands upon the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) in 2014 which, according to the U.N. General Assembly, “raised the profile of the role of family farming, pastoralism, and smallholder farming in contributing to the achievement of food security and improved nutrition.”

Many family farming organizations including ActionAid and Oxfam International (who were part of the IYFF) reassembled into the World Coordination Committee (WCC) under the guidance of the World Rural Forum to campaign for the newly declared Decade. The WCC continued their involvement in the organization of the Decade by presenting an Action Plan to the FAO, the IFAD, and governments. According to the WCC, the Action Plan will “make this Decade an efficient tool to improve the situation of family farmers.”

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