Family Farming Knowledge Platform


According to the latest agricultural census data (2009) in Portugal, family farming represents more than 90% (282,000 farms) of all farms, share 80% of farm labour and 49% of the agricultural and forestry surfaces  and standard production output. These facts are particularly expressive in the Autonomous Regions of Madeira and the Azores. In the mainland, one can observe a more or less homogeneous geographical distribution in the North and Centre regions but is slightly mitigated in the South of the Continent concerning the share of farm labour.There is a great diversity of family farms but we can stand out as common points: the predominance of family labour and the small volume of labour per family farm.


To provide better understanding of family farming and its diversity we should analyze the intensity and nature of family-farm agricultural relations through the economic dimension (the European Union classification) and the income source of the householder’s singular producer.

Most of family farms income, regarding very small and small economic size comes from outside the farm, such as retirement pensions and wages which reflects the ageing of the farming population and the importance of alternative activities. Small and very small family farms share the majority of farms (87%) and the amount of labour (80%) but only 37% of the production value of family farming with a predominance of permanent crops (fruits plants, olive grove and vineyards).

Regarding the family farms of medium and large economic size, agricultural exploitation represents the main income although it weighs little in terms of labour, they ensure 53% of the total volume of agricultural production, dominate the horticulture and the animal production in particular the dairy farming.

Aware of the importance that this type of farming assumes in Portugal, the policy instruments: CAP and the Rural Development Program 2014-2020 were strengthened.
The First pillar, we point out: application in Portugal of small scale family-based agriculture which simplify support for smaller farmers and covers most of the family farmers, an increase in the maximum amounts to the young farmers in order to stimulate the rejuvenation of the sector; the use of linked payments in sectors or weaker territories minimizing the effects of internal convergence of the value of direct aid.

The Rural Development Programme 2020 measures aimed at the family farming are: supporting young farmers, promoting the renovation of the sector; strengthening the organization of production, creating conditions for a higher production and to increase ability to generate profit; provide training and farm advisory in order to improve knowledge and better productivity growth and sustainability of agriculture.

Under the Leader approach will be established local development strategies.
The main type of operations to be implemented within the LDS, supported by EAFRD are: small investments in farms, small investments in processing and marketing, diversification of activities in the farm (non agricultural activities), promotion of short supply chains and local markets, promotion of certified quality products and local products.
Under this approach the connection with the Cohesion Policy Funds (ERDF and ESF) will foster a more comprehensive and integrated development that will provide better living conditions for the local communities and greater attractiveness of rural areas.
Can also be identified exclusively national initiative measures, particularly in the field of social benefits and concerning the Value-Added Tax (VAT) of small farmers (mostly family farmers).


This text is kindly provided by the authorities of this country

Family farming lex

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