At the eve of the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF), we congratulate the hundreds of organisations and individuals who committed to participate in it.
All of you are doing a great job of communicating and raising awareness. We hope that the IYFF will give a significant boost to the demands of all family farmers, including peasants, indigenous peoples, traditional fishermen, pastoralists, and others. And the signs are hopeful – the preparations of the IYFF are already causing an unprecedented movement of farmer movements, civil society groups, governments and international agencies.
We would like to underline that this International Year’s character and intrinsic value are shaped by family farmers themselves. They work diligently for their valuable and important rural way of life, which is marked by a special bond with nature. They, together with the World Rural Forum, convinced the international community of the need to dedicate a year to Family Farming.
The IYFF is our opportunity to claim universal recognition of the role of women and men family farmers, who provide food to humanity in a sustainable way. We must seize the IYFF to get our governments to agree on policies that respond to the demands of family farmers worldwide, such as access to land and water, improving the status of women and youth, access to markets and credits, and strengthening farmer organisations. In summary, we must support the right of people to produce a large part of their own food, guaranteeing their food security in the process towards food sovereignty.
In many countries, National IYFF Committees of agricultural and rural organisations are doing exactly this. They are designing a large number of activities, events, lectures, research, meetings, festivals and policy proposals calling for priority support for family farming.
In this perspective, we encourage you to participate in your own National IYFF Committee, through your farmer organisations, through us, or through our allies in the AgriCultures Network, to make your voices heard before governments.
Let’s seize the IYFF 2014 to achieve a substantial improvement at all levels of the rights and the lives of so many millions of women and men farmers, indigenous peoples, traditional fishermen, herders and landless laborers.
José Antonio Osaba and Laura Lorenzo
José Antonio Osaba and Laura Lorenzo are members of the World Rural Forum, which was instrumental in campaigning for the International Year of Family Farming (