This is the Year of Family Farming
2014 is the International Year of Family Farming - watch the film by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)
As an organisation that works with smallholder farmers, we understand the important role they play in the fight against poverty and climate change. We were therefore pleased to hear that 2014 has been declared International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) by the United Nations General Assembly.
In the past, the world’s 500 million smallholder famers have often been ignored in favour of industrialised approaches to agriculture and food production. But as hunger and poverty rates fail to reduce drastically, particularly in rural areas, the international community is recognising that family and small-scale farming are inextricably linked to world food security.
The IYFF campaign aims to raise the profile of family and smallholder farmers and bring them to the centre of agricultural, environmental and social policies around the world. It hopes to highlight the significant role they play in eradicating hunger and poverty, protecting the environment and achieving sustainable development.
Excellent Development has been working with rural communities in Kenya for many years. We have seen that investing in smallholder farmers is crucial for sustainable rural development. For more than 10 years, our local partners have been advising communities on improved farming methods; supporting people to grow more food in the face of climate change and drought.
What makes our approach so special is that we work with each individual community to understand their needs and develop appropriate solutions just for them. We never cease to be astonished to see what can be achieved through simple, but highly effective techniques.
Simon Maddrell, Excellent's Executive Director says: “Farming is very much a family affair in Africa and has such an influence on everybody’s life – in particular the health, welfare and nutrition of children.
“Families, in particular women, need our support to enable farming to become more efficient and effective. In drylands, this starts with locally available water but also includes better access to locally relevant seeds, tools and credit to harness people's entrepreneurial spirit."
We hope that 2014 will be successful in increasing awareness of both the potential and challenges faced by smallholders, and can help identify the right methods to support them.
“Farming is very much a family affair in Africa and has such an influence on everybody’s life – in particular the health, welfare and nutrition of children. I am delighted that the UN has initiated the celebration of a subject so close to our hearts.”
Simon Maddrell, Executive Director, Excellent Development