International Year of Family Farming: IFAD's commitment and call for action

What is the International Year of Family Farming?

Small family farms are the key to reducing poverty and improving global food security.

The United Nations declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) to recognize the importance of family farming in reducing poverty and improving global food security. The IYFF aims to promote new development policies, particularly at the national but also regional levels, that will help smallholder and family farmers eradicate hunger, reduce rural poverty and continue to play a major role in global food security through small-scale, sustainable agricultural production.

The IYFF provides a unique opportunity to pave the way towards more inclusive and sustainable approaches to agricultural and rural development that:

  • Recognize the importance of smallholder and family farmers for sustainable development
  • Place small-scale farming at the centre of national, regional and global agricultural, environmental and social policies;
  • Elevate the role of smallholder farmers as agents for alleviating rural poverty and ensuring food security for all; as stewards who manage and protect natural resources; and as drivers of sustainable development.

In 2011, the General Assembly of the United Nations invited the Food and Agricultural Organization(FAO) to facilitate the implementation of the IYFF in collaboration with various non-governmental, government and international stakeholders, including the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). It facilitates the International Steering Committee for the IYFF, of which IFAD is an active member.

The World Rural Forum (WRF) is the recognized International Coordinator of Civil Society for the IYFF, including some 360 civil society organizations from 60 countries that supported the campaign, plus other organizations that joined themovement later. It is guided by the World Consultative Committee (WCC), which has representatives from all continents. International organizations and NGOs also have representatives on the WCC.

IYFF National Committees have been created to ensure that the year will concretely improve the situation of family farmers through communication and awareness activities, policy advocacy and research. Over 40 IYFF National Committees have been created.