Family farming is the predominant form of food and agricultural production, particularly in the developing countries. Family farmers include peasants, indigenous peoples, traditional communities, fisher folks, mountain farmers, pastoralists and many other groups representing every region and biome of the world. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), family farming can be regarded as “a means of organizing agricultural, forestry, fisheries, pastoral and aquaculture production which is managed and operated by a family and predominantly reliant on family capital and labour, including both women’s and men’s”. Family farms represent over 90 per cent of all farms globally, and produce 80 percent of the world’s food in value terms. They are key drivers of sustainable development, including ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition.
Non-Aligned Movement has emphasised that development and support for family farming and smallholder farmers in developing countries is crucial for attainment of food security and the move towards sustainable agriculture, including increased food production and agricultural investment, enhanced productive capacities and improved agricultural management.
At the 18th NAM Summit, NAM commended the UN General Assembly’s Resolution 66/222, adopting the Philippine initiative for the declaration of the year 2014 as the UN International Year of Family Farming. This was a successful initiative in improving knowledge about the multiple contribution of family farmers to sustainable rural life.
NAM has welcomed the proclamation of the United Nations Decade of Family Farming (2019-2028) in December 2017 by the United Nations. The UNGA Resolution 72/239 calls upon the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to lead the implementation of the Decade in collaboration with other relevant organizations of the United Nations system and invites governments and other relevant stakeholders, including international and regional organizations, civil society, the private sector and academia, to actively support the implementation of the Decade. Res. 72/239 states that nearly 80 per cent of the extreme poor live in rural areas and work in agriculture, and that devoting resources to the development of rural areas and sustainable agriculture and supporting smallholder farmers, especially women farmers, is key to ending poverty in all its forms and dimensions. The Resolution also calls for the adoption of national, regional and international strategies to promote the inclusive participation of farmers, especially small-scale and family farmers, including women, in community, national, regional and international markets.
NAM has also welcomed the adoption of a Global Action Plan to boost support for family farmers, particularly those in developing countries. According to Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD, the Global Action Plan aims to mobilize concrete, coordinated actions to overcome challenges family farmers face, strengthen their investment capacity, and thereby attain the potential benefits of their contributions to transform our societies and put in place long-term and sustainable solutions. The Global Action Plan is based upon the following 7 pillars: Pillar 1 calls for building and strengthen supportive policies, investments and institutional frameworks for family farming at local, national and international levels based on inclusive and effective governance and on timely and geographically relevant data. Pillar 2 calls for ensuring the generational sustainability of family farming through enabling youth accessing land, other natural resources, information, education, infrastructure and financial services, markets and policymaking processes related to farming. Pillar 3 calls for promoting gender equality by reinforcing women’s organizations, promoting self-empowerment, their own capacity development process and women’s autonomy and agency, to increase access to and control over productive and financial resources. Pillar 4 calls to strengthen family farmers’ organizations and their capacities to generate knowledge, represent farmers’ concerns and provide inclusive services in rural areas. Pillar 5 calls to improve socio-economic inclusion, resilience and well-being of family farmers, rural households and communities. Pillar 6 calls for the promotion of sustainability of family farming for climate-resilient food systems. Pillar 7 stresses the need to strengthen the multidimensionality of family farming to promote social innovations contributing to territorial development and food systems that safeguard biodiversity, the environment and culture.
Thus, these 7 pillars encompass the various aspects of sustainable development.