Family farmers hold the key to alleviating poverty and promoting sustainable development

“International Year of Family Farming” It is a idea, designed to promote family farming as the ideal business model for reducing hunger, poverty and environmental degradation; and it seems to have been generally fairly warmly received, family farming being the sort of thing that, at an emotional level, you can’t really be against.
The International Year recognizes the role family farmers play in food security and nutrition and sustainable development.
Differently from large-scale specialized farming, they usually run diversified agricultural activities which help preserve natural resources.
Family farms in all their forms make a vital contribution to growth and employment in EU rural areas, forming the backbone of rural economies where often no alternative sources of employment exist
Up against increasing challenges like high input costs, market turbulence, it is crucial for family farms to be competitive to continue to ensure this and to ensure that they have a quality of life comparable to other sectors. With farmers’ incomes currently half the average level, this is often not the case
In order for family farms to be more competitive and to ensure generation renewal in the future:
1. Investment in the sector must be stepped up and research and innovation encouraged with knowledge transferred to farmers;
2. Farmers must be given sufficient training and education to give them a competitive future;
3. Family farms must have access to internet and social services like child and health care and retirement facilities, in line with the rest of society;
4. Family farms must have access to land and natural resources;
5. The passing of the farm to the next generation should be facilitated without excessive burden/tax
6. Both pillars of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform must be implemented properly and red tape minimized;
7. The right conditions must be put in place to set up producer organizations like agric-cooperatives to enable farmers to join forces to market their produce; add value to produce to get a higher return

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