Over a hundred participants from different sectors discuss family farming in Mozambique

FAO, with support from Austrian Cooperation for Development and the University E. Mondlane, organized a seminar on family farming in Mozambique on 11 June 2014. The seminar took place in the context of the 2014 International Year of Family Farming and the main objective was to promote dialogue around the family farming sector, which employs 80% of the country's labour force. Over a hundred participants representing members of farmers' associations and producers, private sector, academics, civil society, development partners and UN agencies were present.

The topics discussed focused on, the characterization and dynamics of the family farming sector in Mozambique, the importance of the private sector for agribusiness and value chains, the role of financing institutions and credit, government policies which promote the sector and the role of farmers' associations in the development of family farming. The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests were also reflected upon and it was clear that more awareness for their implementation is required at all levels and across different sectors. The role of women in family farming was highlighted; considering that the agrarian activity employs 90% of the female labour force in the country (Agricultural Census 2009/2010).

It was noted that, the family farming sector has not been a priority in the resource allocation in the public and private sectors. Also in the past decades, no significant structural changes occurred in the family farming sector even though some positive examples were also shared on efforts by farmers' associations and their linkages to markets through partnerships with the private sector.  Mozambique still has significant challenges to achieve food and nutrition security. Therefore, one of this seminar’s conclusions was that, family farming should be at the forefront of agrarian, environment and social government policies.

It was observed from the discussions held that, in order to improve family farming in the country, actions to be taken should include; strengthening of associative movements among producers, access to credit, as well as access to technological innovations to increase yields and ensure food security.

Overall, these content-rich debates highlighted the need to undertake more of these opportunities for dialogue where different views, interests and needs on family farming can be presented and discussed. FAO, UN Women and other partners committed to continue supporting related activities to highlight the importance of family farming for the development of Mozambique.