Just like soccer stars, top farmers ought to be in the media to make the sector attractive for young people.
Photo: © J. Boethling


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Farmers from across the World met in Brussels to discuss how to ensure that family farms have a competitive future. It became clear only talking about “farm size” or “farming intensity” was a waste of time.

Against the backdrop of the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) declared by the United Nations, the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) and the European Union Farmers’ umbrella organisation Copa-Cogeca ran a joint event in Brussels, Belgium, in mid February 2014. “North–South family farming – how to respond to the same challenges?” was the topic addressed by participants coming from a wide range of European and African countries.

Participants insisted that family farming was neither a question of “large” or “small” nor of “intensive” or “extensive”, or “diversification” or “monoculture”, but that the real issue was the of way of life the characteristics of which depended on the socio-economic context the farmers lived in. There was also agreement that strengthening family farms, of which there are around 525 million world-wide, was a key to combating hunger and poverty.

Learning from experience gained in the North

Around 85 per cent of the family farms manage less than two hectares of land, especially in Africa and Asia.

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