OP-ED: Family farming and its transformative potential for Latin America and the Caribbean

Luis Beduschi, FAO-RLC Territorial Development Policy Officer in Rome, Italy.

The last few years in Latin America and the Caribbean have been complex. The COVID-19 pandemic not only triggered an unprecedented health crisis, but also directly caused job losses, and increased poverty and hunger. The difficulties generated by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine added to this challenging panorama, mainly due to the scarcity of agricultural inputs and the high energy cost.

Family farmers were crucial for keeping agri-food systems working during the pandemic. In the post-pandemic recovery scenario, family farming plays a significant role in the necessary transformation of rural territories, especially in promoting more innovative, efficient, resilient, and sustainable agri-food systems.

FAO believes that family farming needs to have a stronger presence on the political decision-making agenda, in implementing public policies, with a budget and concrete actions to go beyond words. Therefore, it is important to strengthen the instances of political dialogue at the subregional and regional levels, fostering the encounter between public, private, and civil society sectors.

This is why we are promoting a series of initiatives and events to strengthen and enhance family

Our organization is participating in the United Nations Decade of Family Farming (DNUAF), which aims to create an enabling environment for exchanging experiences, knowledge, mechanisms, instruments, and technical support to empower and promote a more sustainable development mechanism for family farmers.

In addition, through the Global Action Plan for the United Nations Decade of Family Farming, FAO provides detailed guidance to national and local governments, parliaments, academic institutions, the private sector, and farmers and producers’ organizations to implement national plans, laws, and public policies associated with this issue.

At the regional level, five national plans have already been approved so far (Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and Panama), and one subregional plan with the Central American Integration System (SICA). In addition, with the help of the FAO, the implementation of laws, programs, and meetings to exchange experiences and public policies have been carried out, with the participation of governments, parliaments, and civil society.

As a preparatory body for the Global Forum of the United Nations Decade of Family Farming that will take place from September 19 to 22, the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean carried out a prior consultation to generate inputs for this global discussion. The information collected from this consultation is essential to determine the general guidelines that will be promoted in the region, emphasizing the need to generate greater governments participation in the Decade of Family

FAO will also support the second Conference of the Specialized Meeting on Family Farming (REAF) of the Expanded Mercosur on December 5 and 6, promoted by the Agricultural Development Institute (INDAP) from the Ministry of Agriculture of Chile and the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture, and Fisheries (MGAP) of Uruguay.

Additionally, in close coordination with the REAF and the Decade Secretariat, the Latin American and Caribbean Event of the Decade of Family Farming will be held in Chile on December 6 and 7. This event seeks to promote and strengthen the actions being carried out in Latin America and the Caribbean within the framework of implementing the Decade of Family Farming.

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  1. Ibo France
    September 26, 2022

    Almost every day many meetings are being convened, many interviews are being conducted, many heads of governments have gathered together to discuss pertinent, imminent and emerging issues affecting the world community. These meetings are held in New York, Guyana, Mexico, Poland, UAE, all over the globe. The problem is all talk and no action.

    Dominica is the perfect example of these unfulfilled promises. The international airport, the generation of geothermal airport, the many replacement universities for ROSS, boats sailing north and south exporting agricultural produce from Dominica, the envy of the rest of the Caribbean cruise facility, all are just pie in the sky dreams.

    The people are completely fed up with lofty, empty promises. Action, not talk will suffice.

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      September 26, 2022

      lbo, with all of the pie in the Dominica sky’s forever backing, the oven always go cold before it can be baked to be eaten. You know people are so gullible, they do not have the time to question anything.

      So, Roosevelt said he start building an International Airport in Wesley more than a year ago, he worked up a frenzy in one of my biological brothers in Texas, that brother of mine called many people telling them “they start it, they start it, they building de Airport!”


      Once he told me Roosevelt is his friend; but I dare him ask Roosevelt how come after a year we don’t see any construction. You know there are simple things needed on the island to which no one pay any attention.

      Dominica is the only country without Postal Services; there are no Traffic Street lights, and I suppose no posted speed limits.

      They are talking tourism, but if a tourist visits the island sends a post card or package home which never arrive, what that say about…

  2. Roger Burnett
    September 24, 2022

    Dominica has the potential of going one further: that being growing one’s own provisions within one’s own yard. This has been common practice for generations.

    But alas, the recent “housing revolution” apartment blocks and cheek by jowl housing estates don’t have yard space.

  3. Eight k pound Gorilla
    September 24, 2022

    All I can say to these countries involved is SAVE YOUR NATIVE SEEDS. He who controls your seeds controls your ability to feed yourself and, can stop your supply of seeds to keep you in line. If unsure of the long term goals, which I suspect elected politicians will just go along, each should establish a seed bank. End of story!

  4. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    September 23, 2022

    Who wish to hear or read all of that damn nonsense?
    You can scream agriculture until you pine away, that is not going to change the situation in Dominica, since Dominica is the hardest place on the planet for one to do farming; guy while running your mouth off, may I asks have you ever taken a small tour of the terrain in Dominica?
    There are very few places where tractors can be used to plow the land to plant anything; be informed that the tools of farming in Dominica are still the Fork, and Hoe along with the cutlass (machete), and brute force from the hands of humans!
    Although we do need some type of agriculture from which out staples derive; I doubt there can be any viable agriculture industry that can create sustainable employment.
    Many of our youths are college educated in the 21st century you nor to whom you write this garbage will not be able to convince people who perhaps are better educated than you to leave college, and you hand them a Hoe, Machete, and Fork, to live by.

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