FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean

Latin American and Caribbean Parliament adopts a model law for the promotion of family agriculture

New law includes recommendations and principles - designed with the support of FAO - for countries to strengthen family agriculture through national legislation.

PARLATINO already has two other model laws: the Framework Law on the right to food, security and food sovereignty of 2012, and the Framework Law on school feeding, adopted in 2013.

December 12, 2016, Santiago, Chile - Members of the Latin American and Caribbean Parliament (PARLATINO) unanimously approved a Model law on family farming, which includes recommendations and guidelines for countries to strengthen this key sector for food security, FAO said today.

The law was voted on December 3rd during the XXXII General Assembly of PARLATINO held in Panama City, and its text recognizes that "family farming is key to achieving the eradication of hunger by its ability to provide  the population with healthy and nutritious food at all times."

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, the new model law sets out guiding principles, definitions and obligations that national states can use as a basis for creating or improving their family farming laws, policies and strategies.

The law will be sent by the PARLATINO to the assemblies and congresses of the twenty-three member countries of this regional organization.

"This regional law promotes agricultural research, technical assistance and technology transfer for family farmers," explained the president of PARLATINO, Mexican Senator Blanca Alcalá.

PARLATINO already has two other model laws linked to food and nutrition security: the Framework Law on the right to food, security and food sovereignty of 2012, and the Framework Law on school feeding, adopted in 2013.

The Dominican Republic relied on them to create its National System for Food Sovereignty and and Nutrition Security (SINASSAN, in Spanish): "It gave us a regional vision and the necessary arguments to support the law in the Dominican Congress," said Guadalupe Valdez, a former congreswoman of the Republican Dominican and FAO's Special Zero Hunger Ambassador.

For FAO, this new law represents a decisive step for the region, enshrined in the main objective of the framework law: that the states guarantee permanently and as a national priority, the preservation, promotion and development of family agriculture, in recognition of its importance as a way of life and productive activity.

Respect for the rights of indigenous people, women and youth

The text approved by the PARLATINO emphasizes that the development of family agriculture includes the use of knowledge, technology and good practices which respect the culture, traditions and habits of communities, contributing to their growth and development.

The new law puts special emphasis on the specific attention that should be given to those who are vulnerable, such as women and young people.

According to the PARLATINO, the strengthening of rural family farming agricultural production presupposes the right to equitable access to all natural resources and their sustainable use, respecting and prioritizing the rights of indigenous traditional communities.

The framework law also highlights as one of its basic guidelines the fact that the search for food sufficiency of rural households must be complemented by the right to an effective and fair remuneration and participation in benefits.

Family farming and food and nutrition security

According to the FAO, family farming is key to eradicating hunger and malnutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In some countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, family farmers produce up to 70% of the food that makes up the basic basket, as well as being the main source of agricultural and rural employment.

However, the sector still faces serious constraints in terms of access to productive resources, social services, basic infrastructure, financial and extension services.

In recognition of the importance it has for the eradication of hunger, many countries in the region have increased their support to this sector, strengthening their institutions and building up their capacities.

According to the new model law of PARLATINO, this sector of agriculture usually develops diversified agricultural activities, which gives it a fundamental role in ensuring the sustainability of agriculture and the environment and the conservation of biodiversity.

"Small-scale agriculture must be at the center of all governments' agricultural, environmental and social policies," said Mexican Senator Luisa María Calderón of the PARLATINO Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.

Luisa María Calderón is also a member of the Parliamentary Front Against Hunger (FPH), which brings together legislators from throughout the region and forms part of a strategic alliance with PARLATINO and FAO, whose objective is for countries to generate national and regional policies to eradicate hunger and malnutrition throughout the region.

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