Fans of family farming abound at FAO Regional Conference for Europe

If the recent FAO Regional Conference for Europe is any indication, revival of the family farming production model is definitely an idea whose time has come.

Ministers and other delegates from the region’s 53 FAO Member Countries, civil society organizations, private sector representatives and even accredited journalists all expressed warm support for the International Year of Family Farming and its objectives.

At a Ministerial-level round table that took place on Day 2 of the 29th FAO Regional Conference for Europe (Bucharest from 2 to 4 April 2014), delegates thanked FAO for placing the family farming issue on the agenda.

Participants echoed the findings published in an FAO background paper, noting that in order to thrive, family farming needs a favorable legal and policy environment, access to natural resources like land and water, financial support, better infrastructure, training and education, and equal opportunities for men and women.

Before the debate began, a group of civil society organizations conveyed a position paper to the Conference, underscoring the importance of family farming from economic, socio-cultural and environmental perspectives, and calling upon governments to put family farming at the centre of their agricultural and rural development policies. The civil society group offered to contribute to that process with knowledge, experience, and the ability to organize farmers and rural populations.

National delegations informed the Conference about a vast number of national, regional and global events planned for the months ahead – all aimed at improving the position of family farming. The Conference agreed that family farming was crucial for sustainable agriculture, management of natural resources, and preservation of cultural heritage.

A colorful exhibition of Romanian family farms and produce was organized at the Conference venue by the Ministry of Agriculture of Romania, and open to all participants in Regional Conference Week 2014. A new video promoting the International Year of Family Farming was screened continuously during the week.

View photos of the event.