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International Year of Family Farming 2014

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

With the launch of the United Nations International Year of Family Farming 2014, IFOAM is calling for concerted action to support and strengthen family farming. Smallholder farmers grow 70% of the world’s food but 50 % of the world’s hungry are small farmers. Climate change induced weather extremities such as droughts, floods, destructive rains and winds threaten their farms and livelihoods. Organic agriculture and other agro-ecological models provide science-based solutions to these challenges and can bring prosperity to family and small farmers.

IFOAM welcomes the launch of the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) conscious of the essential role that families and small farmers play in food production, sustaining rural economies and the stewardship of biodiversity. Attention also needs to be focused on the poverty-stricken circumstances under which many live and suffer.

Smallholders grow 70 % of the world’s food and yet, 50 % of the world’s hungry are small farmers. Despite the introduction of conventional agriculture in Africa, food production per person is 10 % lower now, than in the 1960s. On the other hand, a recent study conducted by economists, agronomists, and international development experts commissioned by the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences show that ‘modern non-certified organic farming is a potentially sustainable approach to agricultural development in areas with low yields due to poor access to inputs or low yield potential because it involves lower economic risk than comparative interventions based on purchased inputs and may increase farm level resilience against climatic fluctuations’.

The United National Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) also reports on results from 114 organic agriculture projects in Africa covering 2 million hectares and 1.9 million farmers showing a 116 % higher average crop yield on average for all African projects and 128 higher for the projects in East Africa. The UN agencies concluded that ‘organic agriculture can be more conducive to food security in Africa than most conventional production systems, and that it is more likely to be sustainable in the long term’.



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