For instance, many countries in Africa have started to reform policies and regulations on rural land to the benefit of women and vulnerable groups (FAO, 2012).

Acknowledging that men and women of all ages are equal actors and can shape the future development of family farms is vital to the survival of sustainable family farms. Young people in particular play a pivotal role in improving the livelihoods of family farms: they provide the family with a long-term perspective for their farm and tend to enhance openness to farm innovation.

Promoting the timely and effective transfer of farm ownership and management responsibilities from one generation to the next and facilitating greater access to land for young people looking to enter farming for the first time is crucial. This holds particularly true for Europe, where nine farmers out of ten are older than 55 (EU Agricultural Economics Brief No 6).

A focus on Europe

Family farming is the foundation upon which agriculture has thrived in Europe over the centuries.