The UN has declared next year, 2014, to be the International Year of the Family Farmer (IYFF). The UN Food and Agriculture Organization is partnering with FAO, the Food Think Tank, to emphasize how family farmers have a strong impact on food security, poverty, gender equality, opportunities for youth, and many other factors that could help improve the world as a whole.
The International Year of the Family Farmer is also promoted by the World Rural Forum, and has been supported by hundreds of farmer organizations and other societies. The overall goal for the UN and these hundreds of groups for 2014 is to encourage policymakers to focus on sustainability and development of the farmer. The agricultural systems of the world are incredibly important in reducing poverty and the number of malnourished people, and their existence helps promote stability. In addition, the World Rural Forum wants the world to focus on families of farmers and fishing, communal farming units, and indigenous groups to various localities. Hopefully, the UN will help convince the globe to focus on agriculture in order to fight poverty and hunger. Plus, it represents respect for the environment, and a commitment to biodiversity.
The International Year of the Family Farmer initiative has an official logo, and with that logo comes a campaign slogan: “Feeding the World, Caring for the Planet.” Not only does this 2014 initiative commit to spreading agriculture and support of family farmers, but it indicates more than that. The UN and farmer communities want to help protect the environment, as well as keep the world (environmentally) healthy, so that future generations can flourish and succeed, and so that future generations will not have to face hunger like many do in today’s world.
An important part of this initiative is to spread awareness, to have a portion of the population to drive the necessary changes to protect and promote farmers all over the globe, male and female. Other organizations that support this initiative and will provide help in the upcoming year are FAO, IFAD, and other international organizations, as well as Civil Society. The President of a smaller organization, Rigoberto Turra, gave an interview to the IPDRS, a Southamerican Institute focused on rural development. Turra is the President of the Peasants’ Unitary Movement and Cultural Minorities of Chile (MUCECH).
Although his interview was in Spanish, he discussed the issue of family farmers in Chile. He emphasized the idea that marketing and training are main problems for family farmers in Chile, and they need to have major improvements. In addition, he feels there is a need to bridge the large gap between science and the farmers in Chile. He drives in the point that Chile, and the rest of the world, need to understand the importance of the family farmer, and agriculture as a whole.
Turra is merely one voice among many, and represents a single country. However, there are agricultural issues in every country across the globe, and remedying those issues would help to reduce poverty and hunger worldwide, a noble and attainable goal. If the idea of the international Year of the Family Farmer spreads to enough people, a true difference can be made in the world’s agriculture, but also in poverty, gender equality, youth opportunities, and much more.
– Corina Balsamo