In addition to being a more attractive alternative to factory farming where how a product receives the greatest attention rather than to its taste and flavour, family farming offers several attractive features:
- It can serve as an upholder of bio-diversity in food crops and farm animals.
- It can produce food of higher quality with respect to flavour and safety.
- Its continuance reduces urban congestion.
- Environmentally sustainable agriculture is easier to sustain at this level.
I think our current education strategy everywhere on earth has done a great deal of harm in deprecating agriculture in general and family farming in particular by over-emphasising the important of technology and trade as the main areas of one's education.
I am convinced that it is high time to emphasise that agriculture has an indisputable logical priority in education everywhere. This will enable people to understand the obvious, which appears to be not very easy.
Then, it is important that the politicians are made to grasp the four benefits of continued family farming. Iformation dissemination by say the FAO to ministers of agriculture, and general public etc., would be of use here.
I can envisage two legal measures that may be required for the continued existence of family farming.
The first would be useless unless family farmers themselves understand the need for it, viz., a family farm has to be of a certain size if it is to remain a thriving entity. Inheritence laws in many countries allow small farms to be divided among the children of a family in equal shares, which results in their fragmentation into minute bits.
Prevention of this by some appropriate legal means seems to be absolutely necessary. However, it must include some equitable mechanism to compensate those who will be denied a portion of their non-movable patrimony.
Likewise, legal measures to sustain a family farm even when a creditor demands it foreclosure in lieu of a debt might be required in some cases. A loan transfer mechanism that does not entail burdensome interests may prove useful here.
Effective agricultural help at local level may be organised by the authorities to sustain family farming in many ways.
Family farmers within a given area would greatly benefit if they organise themselves into co-operatives to make common purchases as well as to sell their products. Moreover, they may also serve as fora for thrashing out what represents a local best practice, how to bring about improvements, etc.
Mr. Lal Manavado