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FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean

Family farming and inclusive food systems for sustainable rural development

Regional Initiative (RI2)

This priority area of FAO aims at improving access of family farmers to the goods and services required for strengthening production, management and organization.

It promotes productive development and social wellbeing of family farming and appropriate representation and participation of food systems and rural development strategies in Latin America and the Caribbean, a key factor in the eradication of hunger in the Region.

Eradicate hunger and poverty, strengthening rural sector

In the last decades, Latin America and the Caribbean has shown an important progress in reducing hunger and rural poverty. However, it is estimated that almost half of rural population is poor, and one third lives in extreme poverty.

Most rural inhabitants are engaged in agriculture as their major livelihoods and, in general, they work in a small scale, based in family work force both of man and woman.

The productive sector is key for regional food security, but faces important constraints in terms of Access to productive resources, social services, basic infrastructure, services, financing and extension.

While encompassing all family farming activities (crop, livestock, fisheries, aquaculture, forests) family farming has a key role in guaranteeing food security and the eradication of hunger and poverty in the Region.

The Regional Initiative family farming and inclusive food systems for sustainable rural development aims at improving access of this sector to productive assets (land, water, energy, facilities) as well as financial (credit, savings, insurances) and non-financial (technical assistance, innovation, knowledge) rural services.

The initiative works strengthening producers' organizations and promoting rural communities participation in sustainable rural development strategies.

FAO is working to develop productive programs with comprehensive policies for social protection, fostering productive entrepreneurship and promoting decent work

With a focus in inclusive, efficient, resilient nutrition-sensitive food systems, this initiative promotes the strengthening of value chains and public supply systems, the increase of fresh and healthy food - available and diverse - in the Region and the reduction in food and agriculture imports dependency, as well as a greater resilience of rural families before economic and natural shocks.

A regional priority for sustainable development

This priority area of FAO is framed in the Sustainable development Goals (SDGs) and has been developed under the main regional agreement to eradicate hunger: the Plan for Food Security, Nutrition and Hunger Eradication 2025 of the Latin American and the Caribbean States (CELAC).

FAO's initiative Works together with the Family Farming Ad Hoc Working Group of CELAC.

At a sub-regional level, FAO's initiative supports the increase in dialogue on policies for family farming and rural development in the Central American Integration System (SICA) and Agricultural Council of Central America (CAC), the Southern Cone Common Market (Mercosur), and the Specialized Meeting in Family Farming (REAF), as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). 

Expected results

  • Improved governmental capacities to design policies, programmes and legal frameworks strengthening family farming, creating inclusive food systems which promote rural development.
  • Sustained increase in production, productivity and quality of family farming products through a better Access to productive resources, rural services and a higher associativity.
  • Inclusive markets to promote links between family farming and agri-food value chains which facilitate a sustained growth of this sector and a better use of local and regional quality products for a better food security and nutrition.
  • Strengthen comprehensive social protection systems in rural areas, aligned with agricultural development and employment policies, fostering initiatives promoting the development of women, youth and indigenous people.

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