The 2014 International year of family farming

Advancing participatory communication

Enabling community dialogue

Promoting gender equality

Raising farmer’s voice

What is the international year of family farming?                                                                                   

During the 66th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, 2014 was declared to be the “International Year of Family Farming” (IYFF).   FAO was invited to facilitate its implementation, in collaboration with Governments, International Development Agencies and farmers’ organizations. The 2014 IYFF advocates for the central role played by family farming and smallholder farming in the alleviation of hunger and poverty and the improvement of food security and nutrition. Moreover, family farming ensures a correct natural resources management, protects the environment and enables sustainable development in rural areas. The goal of the IYFF is to reposition family farming at the centre of agricultural, environmental and social policies in the national agendas. In this sense, the IYFF will advance broad discussion and cooperation at the national, regional and global levels. The initiative intends to increase awareness and understanding the challenges faced by smallholders in order to identify efficient ways to support family farmers. 


What role ComDev plays in the 2014 IYFF?                                                                                  

Communication for Development (ComDev)[1] embodies a social process based on dialogue using a broad range of tools and methods. ComDev approach facilitates active participation and stakeholder dialogue integrating the power of media with local communication systems to increase the involvement of rural populations in development initiatives. Participatory communication enables people to take ownership of their own development by making them aware of the various facets of real development problems in their region and of the challenges that have to be faced.

ComDev improves access to agriculture knowledge and information through active participation of rural communities. Through this approach, local communities are able to diagnose specific problem they face, make well-informed decisions, mobilize for action, and assume responsibility for their own development. In the framework of the 2014 IYFF, ComDev identifies communication as a basic right of the rural population to ensure equitable and self determined development. Fostering a dialogue between institutions and small-scale farmers is critical for the implementation of adequate solutions to deal with food insecurity, malnutrition and the impact of climate change. Agriculture and rural development initiatives have to be established on inclusive and demand driven approaches. 


What does the FAO-AMARC initiative imply?

The Food and Agriculture Organizatio of the United Nation (FAO) and the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) agreed to join efforts to launch a joint initiative Communication and Community Media to advance family farming. The action aims to advocate for the recognition of the role of communication as driver for social change and development in rural areas. The emphasis is placed on the recognition of communication as a basic right of the rural population to ensure equitable and self determined development ensuring access to knowledge, information and opportunities for participation and social inclusion. As part of the activities, ComDev FAO and AMARC are involved – until December 2013 - in the preparation of a study, including regional perspectives; the support to regional platforms (Onda Rural, ComDev Asia and YenKasa Africa) and consultations as well as an awareness campaign.

An International Forum on the role of communication in family farming and strategic partnerships to promote access to knowledge and communication for the rural population world-wide will be promoted as part of the activities of the 2014 IYFF. As part of the awareness campaign, AMARC has produced 12 radio programs of 5-10 minutes each, focusing on contribution of family farming as well as community medias to the eradication of hunger and reduction of rural poverty. Through these efforts, FAO ComDev and AMARC advocate for the inclusion of communication for development and community medias as component of agricultural policies and programs.


Useful links:

FAO dedicated page on Family Farming

AMARC dedicated page on Family Farming

World Rural Forum


[1] “ComDev is about seeking change at different levels including listening, establishing trust, sharing knowledge and skills, building policies, debating and learning for sustained and meaningful change”. World Congress on Communication for Development (WCCD), Rome 2006


The 2014 international year of family farming