FAO Director-General QU Dongyu pointed out in his video address at the opening of the Global Forum that the world is backsliding in its efforts to end hunger and malnutrition.
He said the number of people facing hunger has increased in 2021, and is likely to increase further, especially among the most vulnerable, nearly 80% of whom live in rural areas and are small family farmers.
Family farmers around the world are also subject to the new challenges of food systems everywhere, created by the climate crisis, as well as conflicts. The war in Ukraine has added further pressure on already fragile agrifood systems, UN agencies said.
Mr. QU said the forum provides a means, firstly, to discuss “the unique role of family farmers in transforming our agri-food systems; second, to take stock of achievements and challenges in the implementation of the United Nations Decade; and third, to strengthen collaboration to ensure global food security, improve livelihoods and achieve the goals Sustainable Development Goals”.
“Family farmers must be at the center of efforts to transform agrifood systems if we really want to make progress towards ending hunger,” Qu said.
He added that “family farming is the main form of agriculture in developed and developing countries and is responsible for producing 80 percent of the world’s foodin terms of value.
He noted that often these family farmers struggle to feed their own families.
Since its launch three years ago, the UN Decade of Family Farming has been promoting integrated policies and investments to support family farmers, and FAO has been supporting national implementation of international tools and guidelines to strengthen family farming, Qu told the virtual forum.
He also noted that FAO hosted the Family Farming Knowledge Platform facilitate the exchange of experiences, innovations and specialized knowledge.
Moreover, the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31 includes a priority area of work aimed at better supporting small-scale food producers and achieving concrete results.
Push for the future
The main objectives of the Global Forum are to provide an overview of policy trends and the relevance of family farming to the global push towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals; highlight the main results of the first three years of implementation; and redirect the UNDFF agenda through the practical lessons learned so far.
Participants include representatives from national governments, government agencies, UN agencies, family farmers and their organizations, civil society organizations, as well as NGOs; the private sector, the media and academia.
© WFP Haiti/Theresa Piorr