FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

The UN Decade of Family Farming

FAO and IFAD have been called to support the implementation of the UNDFF and established a joint FAO-IFAD Secretariat to facilitate this process under the guidance of an International Steering Committee composed by Member States and Family Farmers Organizations. Since its launch in 2019, the UNDFF has been promoting integrated actions supported by cross-sectoral policies that address the environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainable development.

During the first three years of implementation of the UNDFF in the NENA region, significant results have been achieved. The UNDFF Regional Action Plan for the NENA Region (RAP) was the result of consultations with key stakeholders in the region, within and outside FAO, including strategic partners (e.g. FAO Representatives, IFAD, WRF); to contextualize the UNDFF Global Action Plan to respond to regional challenges through a wide consultation process.

The strategic vision for strengthening family farming in the Near East and North Africa region over the next 10 years is to achieve:  

  • Enhanced resilience, productivity, sustainability and inclusiveness of family farming  and to maximize its contribution to inclusive food system transformation in a context of resource scarcity, climate change, conflict and other crises facing the region; and
  • Sustainable increases in agricultural productivity, food production and incomes of small-scale family farming  that promote decent employment, high social standards and respect for the environment in the context of the above challenges 

The RAP Plan has been validated and finalized, with the aim of providing guidance for further implementation of the UNDFF at the national level. 

In Tunisia, the government is collaborating with the Tunisian Union of Agriculture and Fisheries (UTAP) and was supported by FAO to draft a National Action Plan (NAP) on Family Farming 2021-2028, which was formulated through a participatory process involving governmental entities and farmers’ organizations, among the others. The draft plan is finalized and validated and to be confirmed by FAO Subregional Office for the Near East. 

Several policies, laws and regulations relevant to family farming have been developed and approved in the region with the aim to provide policy frameworks for rural development and to support family farmers facing the challenges posed by global crises in the region. Among others, the Generation Green Strategy 2020-2030 in Morocco and the National Agriculture Strategy (NAS) 2020-2025 in Lebanon were developed, both focusing on restoring and improving the livelihoods and productive capacities of farmers and producers, with a particular attention to youth and to improve climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies to increase resilience along the agri-food system. 

The UNDFF also works on mapping existing set of institutional, policy and legal frameworks targeted towards, or related to family farming in the NENA Region (implemented by UNIMED)

Facts and Figures
  • Family farmers hold 75-85% of agricultural land holdings in the NENA region.
  • 12.5% of the population in NENA works on family farms.
  • About 13.2% of the population of 55 million in the NENA region have been defined as hungry and ESCWA estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic could pull over eight million Arab people into poverty, thus leading to an additional 5 to 7 million people becoming food insecure.
  • Global urban population is expected to reach 75% by 2050, creating a demand for a radical transformation of the agri-food system to guarantee reliable access to basic foods for an ever younger and fast-growing population. 
  • Globally, some 20% of all food consumed have crossed borders. It reaches 50% in the Middle East, making the NENA region the most food-import dependent region.
  • Around 60% of the population in the region is under 25 and around 40% of these are unemployed.
FAO impact in numbers

Ten NAPs have been approved to date: Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Nepal, The Philippines, the Gambia, and Sierra Leone, in addition to Tunisia from the NENA region.