Family Farming

Family Farming

Since FAO declared 2014 International year of family farming, the main objective has become to focus the world’s attention to small-scale family farming, showing what may be his fundamental contribution to the eradication of hunger and poverty, and ensuring food security for the entire planet by preserving resources.
Small farmers are the vanguard of sustainable agriculture practice. In an era of rising costs, volatile fuel prices of agricultural inputs and food, the unpredictability of climate change, environmental degradation, the small agroecological farmers are the most functional form of agriculture can feed the world and reduce the ecological and economic pressures.
Small farmers and small farms are the key to food security, are more productive and retain more of the large monocultures resources, are models of sustainability and biodiversity sanctuaries. Not least, through a complex set of aspects of proximity and simplicity of production systems, contribute to the cooling of the climate.

Family farmers preserve traditional foods, it contributes to a balanced diet and defends, worldwide, agro-biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources.
Family farmers are the custodians of knowledge wisely adapted to local ecologies and the productive capacity of the earth. A local to know with whom they maintain productivity on marginal soils often due to complex land management techniques and innovative. Depth knowledge of their land and expertise in sustainably manage different agricultural landscapes allow family farmers to improve many ecosystem services.
Family farmers is an opportunity to strengthen local economies, especially if associated with specific policies for social protection and welfare of the communities. Family farmers have strong economic ties with the rural sector; contribute greatly to employment, especially in developing countries where agriculture still occupies most of the workforce. In addition, the incremental income generated from agriculture family is spent on housing, education, clothing, etc., Not local agricultural economy.
To exploit the full potential of family farmers in order to eradicate hunger and ensure food security, it is necessary an environment and a favorable political culture. This means greater recognition of the many contributions they make family farmers, and that such contributions are received and are reflected in policies and national debates. The first fundamental measures at national level are the definition of family farming and the collection of data related to agriculture that recognize and organize the contributions of farmers systematically.
Nationally, there are many key factors for successful family farming development, including: agro ecological conditions and territorial characteristics;
access to markets; access to land and natural resources; access to technology and extension services; access to finance; demographic, economic and socio-cultural and specialized education accessible. In order to achieve tangible changes and sustainable improvements are necessary interventions of agricultural policy, environmental and social support of family farmers.
More and more Italians seeking a direct relationship with those who produce the food purchased daily. so grows the focus on typical, local products, local markets. A relationship of trust that is worth billions.
At least 4 million Italian consumers seeking convenience stores, healthy and traditional products, looking for a direct relationship with those who create those foods that will end up on their plate. The watchwords are authenticity, biodiversity and family farming, they speak of 30 billion Euros a year between direct sales, villas, and multifunctional activities. It is family farming, as opposed to the intensive and industrial.
This is confirmed by positive numbers in recent years. A recent study carried out between CIA and Censis showed that over the past five years have opened more than 100 000 small fruit shops, vegetables and groceries. It matters little if most of these exercises has a foreign owner: the fact is that there are at least 4 million Italians who come to the store under the house.
It almost seems a turnaround compared to what is perceived in the city, where they are increasingly the shutters down, especially in centers that revolve around the multi-brand stores.
It is evident the need for a turnaround in our patterns of production, consumption and sociability; where the center can no longer be that of the returns and financial indices but to an economic model to human indices, social and ecological.
Italian agriculture is supported by the production of small or very small scale, say the data of the Census of Agriculture: 67% of farm income is created by companies (not businesses) with gross income of less than € 10,000, 14 % by intermediate companies (between 10 thousand and 20 thousand euro). But the Italian laws (and European) about agriculture do not take into account this fact and are made to measure agro imposing on farmers and small farms rules that interfere with their work.
There is an unknown number of people practicing small-scale agriculture, sized on rural work and family economy, oriented own consumption and direct sales; agriculture low or no environmental impact, based on a lifestyle choice linked to values ​​of welfare or ecology or justice or solidarity rather than for enrichment and profit; agriculture almost invisible for large numbers of the economy, but indispensable to maintain fertile and treated the land (especially in the hills, mountains and economically disadvantaged and marginal areas), to preserve the rich diversity of landscapes, plants and animals, keep alive the knowledge, the techniques, the countryside and the mountain local products and populated.
We must defend this agriculture which threatens to disappear under the weight of tax documents to work, as well as tax regulations, sanitary and hygienic heavy, totally inadequate and not linked to the rural world. We must urge the policy that the country reality is recognized, and the peasants and family farmers are qualified in their social figure ineradicable from the territory; so that this common good is distinct from the rules designed for an agriculture business and industry. You have to obtain the removal of bureaucratic and fiscal burdens impediments to the work of the farmers and threaten their very permanence on our Mother Earth. ” There must be a total turnaround and the killing of false information (and related statistics) who say things that do not exist in the reality of the planet.
About turnaround is inevitable to mention the encyclical of Pope Francis: Yes Praised; it talks about its “integral ecology” through which Pope Francis reiterates the importance of an integral approach “to fight poverty,” and at the same time “to take care of nature.” “The analysis of the environmental problems is inseparable from the analysis of human contexts, family, business, urban, and the relationship of each person with itself.” The Pope speaks of “social ecology”, recalling that “many countries are ruled by a precarious institutional system, at the cost of the suffering of the population”, and “recorded with excessive frequency of illegal behavior.” Even where there are laws on the environment, they are not always enforced. Francis then cites “cultural ecology”, and calls attention to local cultures. Warns against ‘claim to solve all the problems by means of uniform regulations, “explains the need to take the” perspective of the rights of peoples and cultures “, because” the imposition of a hegemonic lifestyle linked to a mode of production can be as harmful as the alteration of ecosystems. ”
So while the European Union focuses its objectives on a substantially opposite agricultural model (see the Rural Development Programme) the things of nature, its balance, its needs make us understand how the twilight of a socioeconomic model and as the planet and its inhabitants are shouting loudly birth (already in place) a new season focuses on a humanistic economy.

Guido Bissanti

Farmers Family in the World – Facts and Figures *
• More than 500 million family farms;
• They represent more than 98% of agricultural property;
• They represent at least 56% of agricultural production on 56% of the land;
In addition to the absolute number of agricultural properties, family farmers work on a percentage of agricultural land around the world. regional percentages: 85% in Asia; 62% in Africa; 83% in North and Central America; 68% in Europe; and 18% in South America.
* On the basis of census data from 91 countries




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