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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

Talks on family farming and nutrition with the Hungarian Minister of Agriculture

“Conscious food consumption is key for healthy diets” – Minister Fazekas

FAO Director-General greets the Hungarian Agriculture Minister at FAO.

27 October 2014, Rome - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today met with the Hungarian Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas, who was in Rome to attend the Global Dialogue on Family Farming (GDFF), a forum to discuss ways for governments, farmers' organizations and the private sector to galvanize concrete action in support of family farmers beyond the International Year of Family Farming in 2014.

“Family farmers play a very important role in Hungary’s food supply, making up a noteworthy 50-60 percent of land under cultivation in the country,” the Minister said in remarks after the meeting. “Today, around half a million Hungarians are employed in the agriculture sector, 90% of which have opted for this structure of production.”

Fazekas highlighted the “positive change in the reputation of family farming over the last years” and acknowledged FAO’s role in this progress. “For a long time family farming was regarded as a disappearing form of production; family farmers, however, have proved this wrong by demonstrating that they are able to consistently contribute to food production with traditional or innovative products,” the Minister said, noting the rise of artisanal and organic food.

"Acknowledging their clear advantage, small scale family farmers should be provided with an enabling policy environment to contribute to local and global food security objectives," said Minister Fazekas at yesterday’s GDFF opening ceremony, outlining Hungary's efforts to make rural lifestyles more attractive, including improving rural infrastructure, facilitating access to credit and supporting agro-tourism and organic farming.

Fazekas, who called family farming "a model that meets all requirements of sustainability" and "the backbone of Hungarian agriculture", highlighted the economic, cultural and environmental dimension of family farms, crediting them for creating unique employment opportunities in rural areas and preserving traditions and natural resources.

Conscious food consumption key for healthy diets

“Conscious food consumption is key for healthy diets,” according to Fazekas, who noted that the importance of healthy food has gained recognition in the last years.

“More and more people, particularly the younger generations, pay more attention to their food consumption habits and to the quality of the food they purchase, and with this act they support farmers especially those engaged in organic farming,” the Minister added.

FAO Director-General and the Minister also discussed Hungary’s school canteen program, which links organic produce from local farms to schools and supports short-chain food distribution systems.