© Liu Jian Ming/Redlink/Corbis
According to the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN), Family farming is a strategic approach to promote food safety and nourishment for the entire world.
The event to launch the year of Family Farming
was held in November, 2013. It was an occasion for the world’s agricultural policy leaders to meet in Brussels. "Agriculture is a family run part of the solutions for most of the problems that humanity is committed to resolve, including world hunger," said EU Agriculture Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos. The event in Brussels was attended by several key figures', including Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food, who said: "There's too much bureaucracy and little structural and financial assistance to develop a family business. We need to implement policies that do not complicate the lives of small farmers." You cannot eradicate hunger in the world if you do not improve the yield of family farms," added Jose Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the FAO.
Family farming can also be a best practice used to exit from the economic crisis
Family farming can also be a best practice used to exit from the economic crisis, as the organizational model that contemplates distinctive signs. In family farms, for example, the generational change ensures business continuity and brings innovation and operational improvements. Sharing of information and responsibility represents an organizational advantage and a way to unite the family members. The time horizon is dominated by the short term, but is also extended to include future generations. These values provide the family farm with a distinctive value-added offering.
Family farming is, therefore, a fundamental reality in the current agricultural landscape that countries and their policies should take note of. While in some states there are already active measures that promote family farms, there is still room in other countries to implement supportive policies. Great Britain, Switzerland and Finland are among the members of OMA, indicating the need for measures to make the family farm more competitive on the market and less dependent on the PAC funds. In contrast there are countries such as Albania, South Africa, Ghana and Uganda that are asking for more dedicated funds and easier access to credit. There are difficulties common to family farms: lack of access to credit, a marginal position in the supply chain, lack of adequate infrastructure, poor access to information, exclusions from the global forums on development agendas, adaptation to climate change and the need for an adequate income.
Positive examples come from the United States where there are social safety nets and also from Canada where there are loans for young entrepreneurs. Argentina has special measures for inclusion in the market and a way to build alliances between the various players in the sector, as well as incentives for production. Another good example also comes from Australia where there are already tax incentives and financing for family farms. The government also works directly with rural communities through a link between investment and development. There are some African states such as Uganda and Ethiopia that are among the members of OMA and that are providing supportive measures, for example they have put in place policies to ensure control of development and access to land. Last but not least, a positive case comes from Switzerland where legal and financial measures support access to land and provide training activities.