IFAD reaffirms its commitment to promote pro-family-farming policies in Latin America

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IFAD reaffirms its commitment to promote pro-family-farming policies in Latin America

Montevideo, 29 June 2015 –In launching the fifth phase of the FIDA-MERCOSUR programme in Montevideo today, the International Fund for Agricultural Development or IFAD (FIDA in Spanish) confirmed its commitment to promoting pro-family-farming policies in Latin American and the Caribbean.

This new phase, which will run until 2018 and has a budget of US$ 2.7 million, will be directly managed by the think tank Latin American Centre for Human Economy (CLAEH).

"Family farmers feed much of the world and supporting them is crucial to achieving food security and tackling rural poverty," said Joaquín Lozano, IFAD's director for the Latin American and Caribbean Division.

In 2013, family farmers produced 56 per cent of the world's food and created employment for millions. In the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) area alone, seven million family farms provided employment for over 30 million people.

"Over the last few years, MERCOSUR governments have made a lot of progress in supporting family farming," Lozano added. "But much more needs to be done, not only in MERCOSUR countries, but all across Latin America."

The policy dialogue process sparked by FIDA-MERCOSUR has had an impact on the four MERCOSUR state members who created the MERCOSUR Commission on Family Farming (REAF) in 2004 and the Fund for Family Farming (FAF) in 2008.

While REAF has functioned as a political forum where family farmers' organizations, representatives of academia and civil society and policy-makers from MERCOSUR countries have discussed public policies targeting family farming, FAF ensures the funds to continue supporting the policy dialogue platform.

Policies discussed at the REAF have since been implemented at a national level. This has included introducing pro-family-farming legislation as well as setting up national institutions to respond to the needs of smallholder farmers. MERCOSUR countries have also set up financial support programmes, including public purchases of family farms production, and established policy dialogue platforms where family farmers have their say.

FIDA-MERCOSUR's new phase aims to deepen these and other pro-family-farming measures and to expand them to the rest of the continent, strengthening national sections of the REAF in MERCOSUR founding states (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) and supporting REAF's agenda in MERCOSUR's new member and associate states (Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile) and other countries interested in the experience (Colombia, Dominican Republic and Peru).

"Fifteen years ago, very few people across the Americas were aware of the importance of family farming," said Paolo Silveri, IFAD Country Programme Manager for Brazil. "Nowadays, it is clear that family farming is not just a matter of subsistence, but a powerful economic and social tool."

Silveri added, "FIDA-MERCOSUR's mission, vision and ambition is to act as a facilitator, so that policy dialogue between family farmers, civil society and governments allows Latin American societies to benefit from the decisive contribution that family farming can make to the construction of  more equal societies, where there rural poverty and hunger are no longer inevitable."


Notes to editors:

FIDA-MERCOSUR programme was established in 2000 to identify, agree on and articulate public policies for family farming within MERCOSUR. In its four previous phases, FIDA-MERCOSUR has invested over US$ 6 million in promoting pro-family-farming policies across Latin America.

To arrange an interview or for more details about FIDA-MERCOSUR programme, please contact:

In Rome:

Juan Ignacio Cortés

IFAD's Communications Division

Tel: +390654592882



In Montevideo:

Andrés Bacalari


Tel: (+598) 2413 6411



IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided nearly US$16.6 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 445 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN's food and agriculture hub.