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Foro Global sobre Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición • Foro FSN

Re: Selection and Prioritization of CFS Activities for the Biennium 2016-2017

Marie-Aude Even
  1. What issues should be addressed by the Committee in the biennium 2016-2017?

The proposal made by the Ministério do Desenvolvimento Agrário Brasil related to the need to seize the momentum of the International Year of Family farming and discussion of its follow up to address issues related to

  1. Multi-stakeholder, broad-based, participatory platforms for food security and family farming.
  2. Regional and sub-regional agricultural strategies and integration mechanisms which are conducive to food security and family farming.

Building on such context and need, including outcome of the regional dialogue on family farming organized by FAO, I would propose a third issues which could be addressed and makes sense in relation with FAO mandate as a knowledge organization and overall objective of CFS to propose better coordination, policy advice, sharing of best practices, as well in connection with other work stream (such as improved rural and agricultural):

  • how to better bridge the knowledge gap on agrarian structures, notably family farming in its diversity and in in conjunction with overall rural transformations so as to inform such multi-stakeholders platform and integration mechanisms at different levels?

2. Explain the issue and describe why you are proposing it

Indeed, Assessment at global and local level showed that most often it was difficult to actually capture and characterize family farming in its diversity, although it is key to facilitate informed dialogue and to adapt better policy. Besides, there is often weak understanding of the strong inter-relations between rural transformations and evolving agrarian structures, and the challenges they raise for different types of holding, including diverse family farms, as well as for society (notably for instance regarding the employment issue as well as sustainability agenda[1]). Also, as highlighted by contribution of M. Robinson, UK, it is key to go beyond FF and also characterize roles of new actors, non family structures. What best trajectories can be imagined? What implications for policy? Such often requires an informed dialogue on the potential roles and evolutions of  family farming.

Data are often quite weak and very difficult to compare across countries. Different information systems exist but do not always well coordinate amongst themselves and liaise with users. Capacities to better valorize and analyze the data in such perspective is often lacking. Initiative emerge in different countries but may require or benefit from further support and platform for exchanges on the topic. The international Year of family farming is setting up an international working group to further propose criteria and guidelines to develop definitions and typologies of FF.

3. What kind of activity do you propose to address this issue? Which kind of CFS work stream should be put in place to address it?

Such could include:

  • Further assessment, knowledge generation and dialogue on the diversity of family farms and the inter-connection between rural transformations and agrarian structures and the challenges they raise for different types of holding, including diverse family farms as well as for society, in a context of increased need for sustainability. Also, as highlighted by contribution of M. Robinson, UK, it is key to go beyond FF and also characterize roles of new actors, non family structures. What diversity of trajectories can we currently see and imagine? What implications for society and policy?
  • Further assessment and exchange on the related data, information systems and capacity development requirement. How can current data initiative help to better address the data gap, including the global strategy for rural and agricultural statistics,  the world program of census or LSMS type of data? Can we minimally harmonize some of the data to enable better comparison and dialogue across regions? What kind of information platform and observatory can help better collate and use such information, bridging the gap between data and policy and facilitating longer term dialogue on such? What methods to better assess such transformations at national and global level?

CFS stream could include: HLPE report on the topic, integration of such points along existing work stream (global strategy for improved rural and agricultural statistics) as well as on previously proposed work stream on “country-initiated multistakeholder assessments on sustainable food systems, food security and nutrition” and “smallholders and market”. Indeed, such assessment would benefit to 1) take into account the rural transformations perspective and diverse roles of evolving agrarian structures and 2) provide best practices and guidelines on how to inform such assessment in long term (data requirement, information and monitoring system, etc.).

Such point could be discussed in the discussion on the follow-up to IYFF and of a Global Document to be agreed in October during CFS 41


[1] See FAO Asian regional conference paper on meeting farmers aspirations in context of green development http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/030/mj413E.pdf