Global Forum and Expo on Family Farming - summary and outcomes

Organized by the Hungarian Ministry of Rural Development, in cooperation with FAO, the Global Forum and Expo on Family Farming, which was held in Budapest from 4-6 March, highlighted the key contribution that family farms can make to global food and nutrition security. This global two-day event was centred around a ministerial roundtable and three panel discussions. Key issues discussed include:

-Diversity of family farms around the world and the need for tailor-made solutions.
-Strong values that family farms share despite this diversity.
-Farmers' income security and tackling increased migration to urban areas.
-Development of best practices to tackle issues faced by family farmers including access to land and natural resources, education and investment.
-Enabling environments and cooperation - need for clear and simple legislation, proper taxation systems as well as the promotion of socially responsible partnerships with civil society organizations and with the private sector.
-Role of women in family farming and promotion of women’s equal access to land, credit, education, technology, networks and decision-making processes.
-Engaging youth: investing in the future of farming.
-Role of family farming in sustainable agriculture.
-Environmental regulations should take into account emerging environmental challenges.

During the Ministerial Roundtable ministers confirmed that family farms are key actors in social cohesion, rural employment and the sustainable use and conservation of natural resources. Various presentations demonstrated that a number of governments have taken steps to create enabling environments in order to facilitate family farmers.

Each of the three panel discussions focused on a key theme.

Panel 1: Family farming and the three dimensions of sustainability – harmonising the social, environmental and economic aspects

 Topics discussed:

- Diversity of farmers and economies
- Tailored solutions
- Economic: Moving up or moving out
- Environmental: Regulations and resilience
- Social: New generations on family farms
- Fourth pillar: The culture behind traditional family farming 

Panel 2: Key challenges and opportunities for agricultural investments in family farming (where are we globally and regionally?)

Part I -  Best practices for overcoming challenges and turning opportunities into success
Part II - How can cooperation between family farmers facilitate access to resources and services?

Panel 3: Role of women and young farmers in family farming

Part I - Role of women in family farming
Part II - Role of young farmers in family farming

Despite the progress made, there is still a long way to go.  Governments, the private sector, farmer organizations, NGOs and international bodies must continue to work together in order to come up with solutions (equally targeted at men and women)  for the numerous challenges faced by family farmers around the world. These include equitable access to land and other natural resources, credit, local and global markets, technology, infrastructure, and education and extension services that deliver results from research and innovation as well as investment in youth to ensure the viability of rural communities and the passing-on of traditional knowledge.