The Decade of Family Farming provides an extraordinary opportunity for the United Nations to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in an inclusive, collaborative and coherent way. Putting family farming and all family-based production models1 at the focus of interventions for a period of ten years, will contribute to a world free of hunger and poverty, where natural resources are managed sustainably, and where no one is left behind–corresponding to the top commitments of the 2030 Agenda. Family farmers hold unique potential to become key agents of development strategies. Family farming is the predominant form of food and agricultural production2 in both developed and developing countries, producing over 80 percent of the world’s food in value terms.3 Given the multidimensional nature of family farming, the farm and family, food production and life at home, farm ownership and work, traditional knowledge and innovative farming solutions, the past, present and future are all deeply intertwined.
The overall objective of the FO4ACP programme is to increase income and to improve livelihoods, food and nutrition security and safety of organized smallholder and family farmers in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.
The FO4ACP community is open to all members of farmers’ organizations and of other organizations supporting rural development. Anyone interested to follow the discussions is welcome to join. The community was created to support knowledge generation, sharing and dissemination across the three regions, and to create a space where farmers' organizations can discuss opportunities and challenges and offer peer-to-peer support.
Social capital is a key factor that concerns the ability of people to cooperate for common goals. What we have learned over the past decades, from organizational experiences in developing countries and countries in transition, is that physical and human capital accumulation by itself is not sufficient to induce development. Investments in physical capital (infrastructure and equipment) and human capital (skills development) are necessary conditions, but they are far from sufficient; they need to be complemented with the development of social capital (Stiglitz, 1998). This Learning Guide for Trainers focuses on “Empowering farmers through the creation of social capital,” recognizing the fundamental role that social capital plays for healthy and sustainable organizations. Encouraging farmers and their groups to form associations or federations enhances their capacities to learn from each other, exchange reliable information about what works and what does not work, and monitor the accountability of their members.