New Platform Launched by FAO to Support Family Farmers Worldwide

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 80 percent of the world’s food is produced by family farmers. The new Family Farming Knowledge Platform (FFKP), recently launched by the FAO, provides data for policymakers to support family farmers and organizations that support rural communities.

The FFKP was envisioned as a more permanent method than the IYFF of addressing sustainability issues, fighting hunger, and supporting family farming networks.

"There was a need to share knowledge on family farming-on the different kinds of policies that governments have implemented and the numerous activities of family farmers and their organizations in the field," says Francesco Pierri, Chief of the Advocacy Unit in the FAO Office for Partnerships, Advocacy and Capacity Development.

The new digital platform provides a wealth of information, data, and legislation, aiming to build stronger public policies in support of family farming worldwide. "There is a lot of information available on the web, but it's scattered—we wanted one single access point for all the information out there, for anybody working in this field to use,” says Pierri. Statistics, academic reports, and case studies will be added to the platform as further research becomes available.

A searchable laws and policy database on the FFKP was created through key partnerships with governments.

Country pages offer specific facts and information for all FAO Members and Associated Nations, with the goal of providing quick and easy access to reliable information by nation. Further resources include archived publications and multimedia materials related to family farming issues.

Through the FFKP, the FAO is democratizing innovation by disseminating family farmers’ creative solutions to the challenges of climate change, resource scarcity, and farm business management.

Publicly available information not only improves the visibility of farmer-led solutions but also provides grassroots support for effective public policies that support food producers.

The category of family farming includes fisheries, forestry, and livestock production in addition to crop production. About 72 percent of farms worldwide are less than one hectare, and just six percent are larger than five hectares, according to the FAO. More than 90 percent of the 570 million farms worldwide are managed by individuals or family members and rely primarily on family labor. "Family farmers feed our communities and take care of our earth—they are crucial allies in the fight against hunger and rural poverty," says FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

Partnerships with governments, farmer networks, UN agencies, NGOs, and researchers were crucial to the creation of the FFKP. A second phase of implementing the project will include online policy dialogues via the FFKP. These global conversations, which began with the IYFF, will support science-based policy and advocacy to achieve food security and move towards agricultural sustainability. The FFKP will also include a section for FAO Members to post information, providing international visibility to their policies and programs.

In October of 2014, FAO held a Global Dialogue on family farming in Rome at which governments, farmer networks, and representatives from the private sector discussed how to carry forward the momentum from the IYFF. Stakeholders recognized the need to build the capacity of family farmers through strong public policies that work to link farms to institutions and markets, and to generate sustainable livelihoods in rural communities.

"Above all, strong political commitment in favor of family farming has risen at the highest level across the world, both in countries of the South and the North, throughout the IYFF," says Marcela Villarreal, Director of FAO's Office of Partnerships, Advocacy and Capacity Development.

Smallholder farmers are seen by the FAO as crucial to achieving sustainable use of natural resources, providing food security and balanced diets to local communities, and breaking cycles of rural poverty. These peasant farmers face immense obstacles such as limited access to land, credit, and technology; poor basic services and infrastructure; and imminent climate threats.

The data and research gathered by the FFKP not only provides a picture of the realities faced by family farmers across the globe but also represents the potential to unlock farmers’ solutions to everyday challenges. By engaging farmer networks and organizations via the platform, the FAO expects that the conversations spurred by the IYFF will continue to push for effective policies and raise global awareness of the daily realities of working in agriculture.

Watch a video about the FFKP HERE. The FAO also takes expressions of interest in collaborating to the FFKP through emails to

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