2014: The International Year of Family Farming

Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year from the CARE Pathways team! We hope that 2014 brings you joy, and are excited about what this year will bring to Pathways’ continued progress!

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has declared 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF), a declaration that underscores the widespread importance of the Pathways Program far beyond our impact population. The four key objectives of the International Year of Family Farming are to:

1)     support the development of policies conducive to sustainable family farming;

2)     increase knowledge, communication, and public awareness;

3)     attain better understanding of family farming needs, potential and constraints, and ensure technical support;

4)     create synergies for sustainability.

The FAO selected family farming in order to bring the world’s attention the immensely powerful role that smallholder farming has in transforming lives by eliminating hunger and poverty, improving livelihoods, providing nutrition and food security, and fostering sustainable development – each of the driving forces of the Pathways Program framework.  This declaration was made to increase global discussion of family farming in order to reposition it at the center of social and environmental policies and to encourage equitable and sustainable development. At Pathways, we’re extremely excited about the expanded global attention that our impact group – smallholder farmers – will be given as the transformative power of these farmers is further realized across the world. 

The three global lines of action that will be implemented by the FAO to bring attention and positive change to family farming are:  

1)     the promotion of dialogue in policy decision-making processes;

2)     identification, documentation, and sharing of lessons learned and successful experiences of existing pro-family farming policies at all levels to capitalize relevant knowledge on family farming;

3)     communication, advocacy, and outreach.

Throughout the year, the IYFF will therefore encourage national, regional, and global discussions to increase awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by smallholder farmers and to identify efficient ways to support them. Some of the declared discussion components already integrated into the Pathways Program Theory of Change are: increasing the knowledge, skills, and capabilities of women smallholder farmers, expanding their access to production resources leading to improved yields and income, and increasing shared household influence and decision making power.

 We are excited to see what these discussions bring, both in FAO-designated IYFF events as well as at an informal level across the globe, and are optimistic that a widespread global agenda to increase awareness of smallholder farming will positively benefit the progress of the Pathways Program. We hope you will join in the spirit of IYFF, and share the vision of the Pathways Program with someone new this year. To read more about the International Year of Family Farming, please visit the FAO’s IYFF website. We look forward to your continued support of the CARE Pathways Program in the International Year of Family Farming!