Family Farming Knowledge Platform

Family Farming in Europe and Central Asia

In Europe and Central Asia, family farming accounts to a significant extent for food production, food security and sustainable food systems. Nevertheless, there are substantial differences with regard to family farming among sub regions and countries across the region. This situation is largely attributable to the differences between Western Europe, which has been traditionally characterized by a majority of small and medium family farms, and the Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where the processes of agrarian reform implemented since the 90s often have resulted in dualistic farm structures with few very large corporate farms and many small family farms. In some countries, large commercial farms exist side-by-side with many often economically unprofitable smallholders. Yet small farms can achieve high levels of productivity and income – through improved organization, intensified and sustainable production, and integration into agri-food chains. With appropriate support, commercial family farms can be a model for achieving sustainable growth, ensuring food security and mitigating rural poverty.

Read more on Family Farming in Europe and Central Asia

Read more on Family Farming in Europe and Central Asia

The Regional Initiative on Empowering Smallholders and Family Farms for Improved Rural Livelihoods and Poverty Reduction is managed by the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia and benefit from a close collaboration of the Sub regional Office for Central Asia and the relevant country offices in some of the focus countries as well as benefiting from inputs and support from various Headquarter’ departments and thus ensuring a close alignment with the Strategic Objective Framework. Albania, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Tajikistan are identified as Focus countries of the Regional Initiative.

The Regional Initiative uses a complex, multidisciplinary and area-based development approach, tailored to the Europe and Central Asia region. It takes into consideration the region’s heterogeneity and the special challenges it faces. This includes technical (animal health, production, phytosanitary, land tenure, etc.) social, economic and environmental aspects on an equal footing. Inclusiveness (e.g. gender, vulnerable groups, etc.) is also a key principle of the Initiative. The overall goal is to address the key problems of rural people by empowering smallholders and family farms to improve their livelihoods. Elimination of rural poverty, improving the resilience of rural populations (with a focus on smallholders) and inclusive growth for rural economies based on sustainable use of natural resources are the basic principles of the Initiative. Priority actions include strengthening governance and policies, building capacities, enhancing participatory approaches, supporting smallholders in sustainable production technologies, supporting land consolidation processes, income diversification, and improving smallholder access to markets.

Important results of the Initiative include the promotion of innovative practices, considerable capacity development of governments and local institutions, improved policies, and raised awareness. Here are a few highlights:

  • Development of innovative practices for sustainable agriculture production in integrated pest management, conservation of plant genetic resources and application of farmer field schools in Armenia, Moldova and Tajikistan.

  • Strengthened capacities for governments and local institutions in areas such as animal disease prevention and control in Armenia, and sustainable crop production in Kyrgyzstan.

  • Partnerships established and fostered for rural poverty reduction in the region. Examples include: cooperation with the Regional Rural Development Standing Working Group; ongoing collaboration with the European Commission and other resource partners, such as Austria, Turkey and Switzerland; participation in LANDNET; participation in the Gender Thematic Group of the United Nations Country Teams; partnerships facilitated among UN WOMEN, World Food Programme and FAO through the UN Joint Programme on Accelerating Progress towards the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women, which is being implemented in Kyrgyzstan.

Resources

Access Agriculture wins International Innovation Award for Sustainable Food and Agriculture

Access Agriculture has won the prestigious International Innovation Award for Sustainable Food and Agriculture in the category “Award for innovations that empower youth in sustainable food systems” based on its model of young entrepreneurs.
Italy
More

Network

Access to Land Network

Civil society
The Access to Land Network is a European network of grassroots organisations promoting access to land for agroecological farmers. It facilitates experience-sharing amongst member organisations and like-minded organisations across Europe and promotes the significance of access to land for agroecological transition and generational renewal. Established in 2012, it functions as...
France
More

Our Contributors

Cycling by items - 1 second interval, enabled pause on hover

  • ACCESS AGRICULTURE
  • ADEPT
  • AGRINATURA
  • ASZ
  • AVSF
  • CACAARI
  • CEEweb for Biodiversity
  • CEJA
  • CAHIERS AGRICULTURES
  • CIRAD
  • COPA- COGECA
  • ECO RURALIS
  • ELKANA
  • ENRD
  • EUROMONTANA
  • EUROPEAN COMMISSION
  • FEDERAL MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE
  • FiBL
  • HALLER FOUNDATION
  • ICSF
  • IFOAM
  • ILEIA
  • INRA
  • LIFE
  • MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC
  • NORSK SETERKULTUR
  • Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research (PAR)
  • RDRP
  • SAVJETODAVNA SLUŽBA
  • SLOW FOOD
  • SOS FAIM
  • SIANI
  • SWG RRD
  • SWISS FARMERS UNION
  • URGENCI
  • YOUNG AGRARIANS SOCIETY