Did You Know?

Family farmers are key to ending hunger. 

2014 is also the International Year of Family Farming.  This World Food Day, let’s celebrate family farmers and learn more about their role in creating a zero-hunger world. 

Did you know?

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that there are 805 million hungry people in the world.1

This means they regularly do not have enough food to live an active life.  The actual number of hungry people in the world is even higher when including those who face seasonal food shortages or those who do not eat a varied diet that includes protein, vitamins and minerals.

An estimated 26 percent of the world’s children are stunted due to malnutrition and 2 billion people suffer from one or more micronutrient deficiencies.2

Who are these 805 million people?

Over 70 percent of food insecure people live in rural areas of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Near East. Many of them are family farmers, especially smallholders.3

These family farmers feed the world, yet are hungry themselves. Why are farmers—who produce food—hungry?

The answer to this question is complex, but it is easy to see that by focusing on the needs of these family farmers we could reduce the global hunger problem significantly.

Many family farmers lack access to good seeds, adequate storage for their crops, transportation, well-functioning markets, financing, and policy support.

Supporting family farmers in these ways can improve productivity, reduce food losses and increase farmers’ incomes.

Did you know?   

Over 98% of farms in the world are family farms.   

If you are a part of the roughly 99% of the North American population that doesn’t work on a farm, you might be surprised to know that family farming still exists in this fast-paced world. In fact, 500 million out of the 570 million farms in the world are family farms.4

Family farms are fruit and vegetable farms, grain farms, orchards, livestock ranches, and even fisheries and those that harvest non-wood forest products.  They include all family-based agricultural activities that are managed and operated by a family and rely predominantly on family labor.5

Thanks to family farmers, we can enjoy traditional food products and have the variety of nutritious foods we need to maintain a healthy diet.6

Family farmers have an intimate knowledge of their land: its history, needs and productive capacity. They are the custodians of a finely adapted understanding of local ecologies and land capabilities. As a result, they sustain remarkably high levels of productivity despite having less access to agricultural inputs and support. They are safe-guarding the world’s agro-biodiversity through the sustainable use of natural resources. 7

Family Farmer Facts

So it makes sense then that family farmers can have a big role to play in ending hunger, feeding us all and taking care of our earth.   

 


 

[1] FAO. The State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2014. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 2014

[2] FAO. The State of Food and Agriculture, 2013: Food Systems for Better Nutrition. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 2013.

[3] FAO. International Year of Family Farming, Main Messages. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 2014.

[4] FAO. International Year of Family Farming, Main Messages. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 2014.

[5] FAO. Family Farmers: Feeding the world, caring for the earth. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 2014.

[6] FAO. Family Farmers: Feeding the world, caring for the earth. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 2014.

[7] FAO. Family Farmers: Feeding the world, caring for the earth. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 2014.

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