THE FUTURE OF FAMILY FARMING

ILEIA Jubilee Conference

Report on the FUTURE OF FAMILY FARMING Conference
Nieuwspoort, The Hague, the Netherlands 15 December 2009 Chair: Bram Huijsman Director Wageningen International

Introduction
The Future of Family Farming was addressed in a conference on 15 December 2009 in Nieuwspoort, The Hague. ileia - Centre for learning on sustainable agriculture - organised this conference in collaboration with Schuttelaar & Partners. More than 150 professionals from science, government, business, as well as NGOs, students and partners from the South explored what small-scale family farmers have to offer to the world. They also looked at what other stakeholders in agriculture ought to do to give family farmers a fair chance to survive and thrive. Leading questions of the conference were: What is the future of agriculture, and in particular the future of small-scale family farmers? What is the impact of family farming on food security? How can small-scale farmers mitigate the effects of climate change and how do they adapt? During the morning, four keynote speakers approached the theme from various angles: • Camilla Toulmin, economist and director of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in the UK, focused on climate change and agriculture: Copenhagen’s implications for family farming • K. S. Gopal, executive Director of the Centre for Environment Concerns (CEC), Hyderabad in India explored the strategies followed by family farmers in ensuring food security; how resilience and autonomy are central and determine a possible way forward • Olufunke Cofie, research scientist at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and Regional Coordinator of the Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF) in Ghana, made a presentation on urban agriculture in Ghana: her focus was on family farming and the food system of Accra • Edith van Walsum, director of ileia in the Netherlands, reflected on ileia’s experience as a knowledge broker for sustainable agriculture and family farming over the past twenty-five years and looked at the challenges ahead. The presentations were followed by discussions and three regional workshops, wherein ileia’s African, Latin American and Asian partners of the global AgriCultures Network shared their perspectives and practical experiences. Ileia’s boardmembers Paul Engel, Janice Jiggins and Moussa Badji facilitated these workshops. The conference was chaired by Bram Huijsman (director Wageningen International). The day ended with the launch of the renewed sustainable agriculture magazine Farming Matters and a celebration of ileia’s 25th anniversary.

Teresa Fogelberg (ileia’s chair) opened the conference

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on a crumbling resource base. Gopal said. Governments’ support to small farmers has focused on specific commodities. There is enough for everyone’s need In recent years. has become a major threat to small-scale farmers. concerted action is needed to improve the situation of family farmers. or even a philosophical one as K. It offers an alternative way forward in agriculture than through specialisation and economies of scale. national and regional level food security. dynamic farmers’ movements and smart use of ICTs can play a catalytic role in strengthening family farming. triggered by an increasing global demand for biofuels. and swift.Summary The recognition that the world needs multi-functional family farming is gaining ground. quoting Gandhi: ‘There is enough for everyone’s need. Family farming is not just a technical concept. If managed well. The family farming movement must find ways to take on board the insights and interests of small women and men farmers and feed these into policy dialogues and debates’. it means resilience and a struggle for independence and dignity. Family farms in developing countries represent more than 1 billion people. The market place for ideas is wide open Family farming deserves more attention from policymakers than it gets today. sustainable development and human values in their agricultural and economic policies. making a significant contribution to local. let alone on their strategic needs. more people friendly and less polluting than large-scale industrial agriculture. family farming is low-carbon agriculture. There are opportunities to influence and design the way in which climate change policy is being shaped. This was the main take-home message for the participants of this conference.S. but not for anyone’s greed’. It sounds very logical. Family farmers have proven to be amazingly flexible and adaptable but they cannot survive in a vacuum. a flexible and complex strategy to deal with the (often harsh) environment. the food and energy crises as well as financial and economic crises have shown that there is a need for creative ideas. movement must fairer (international) feed the insights trade conditions and and interests they need to know of small-scale how to adapt their farming systems to farmers into climate change. Climate change. Support of family farming means that a political choice has to be made. There are plenty of opportunities and some daunting challenges ahead if 400 million small-farm families all over the world are to be given the space they need to fulfil their potential. large scale land acquisition. The policy debates’ conference showed that critical consumers. Catering primarily to regional markets and using mainly local inputs. Camilla Toulmin challenged the audience: ‘The market place for ideas is wide open. They are family-run undertakings mostly producing on less than two hectares. it stands for a way of life. Taking the family farming framework as a starting point means that policymakers should consider ecology. new forms of cooperation and ways of blending timetested knowledge with newly emerging insights. Private investors have set up large-scale plantations which are pushing small farmers out of business. not on production systems. For the challenges are numerous. They need secure ‘the family farming access to land. but it is not an easy message.  | ileia . it is more efficient. The world is in flux. and supplying local and regional food markets for more than 70 percent.

Knowledge brokering in a global context Edith van Walsum reflected on 25 years of knowledge networking for sustainable agriculture. Heifer Netherlands. agrarian state policies have lead to an enormous  | ileia . Localised agriculture In the afternoon. Agriculture in and around cities (especially the production of perishable foods) is therefore an increasingly important option to complement rural food production. and a good synergy among key stakeholders in urban agriculture. and an active engagement with policy are crucial. The keynote speeches in the morning were accompanied by two short films: Where is the monsoon? showing an Indian dry land farm family and Feeding and greening the city on urban agriculture in Accra. But what is the future scope of urban family farming. The challenge ahead is to show the relevance of sustainable practices in today’s context of climate change and food crisis. Agro Eco Louis Bolk. Here too. through increased migration of ‘climate refugees’ from rural areas. Besides that. The formation of a Sustainable Agriculture Alliance with five other Dutch organisations (ETC. local experience of family farmers through articles in the LEISA Magazine. The result is more pressure on cities. the majority of the world’s population will live in cities. regional trends in family farming were presented in three workshops. is a step in this direction. Collaboration with research in validating such practices. it is a source of income for poor urban families. recycling nutrients and urban wastewater and reducing food miles. It is efficient and low-carbon agriculture. The former LEISA Network (today renamed as AgriCultures Network) has gone a long way in capturing. e. facilitated by ileia’s partners and board members from the AgriCultures Network. including the challenge to feed evergrowing populations. Climate change affects cities. taking into account the present rate of urbanization and resulting competition for a water and land. RUAF and Both Ends) has been another step.Green cities Within the next twenty years.. All over the world. The challenge will be to protect land from encroachment and estate development and to ensure that necessary services such as credit and information exchange are made accessible to urban farmers. a political choice has to be made. This requires visionary urban planners and legislators.g. The renewed magazine Farming Matters. Olufunke Cofie demonstrated the benefits and potential of urban farming using the example of the food system of Accra in Ghana. validating and disseminating relevant. linking local practices more explicitly to global debates.

com/user/ILEIAfoundation The International Year for Family Farming A number of farmers’ organizations. because of mono-cropping and pesticides and fertilizers becoming ineffective. Concerted action of stakeholders from South and North will make the difference. good use of ICT has promising results in informing. will be crucial in the coming months and years. but also to environmental problems. Information and knowledge brokering to show policymakers that family farming matters. In Latin America. and the implementation of these on the ground. www. But there is also a need to bridge the gap between high level ideas and policies.because farming matters! Edith van Walsum Mireille Vermeulen ileia For the films see: www. All workshops showed that there is a need for policy commitment to family farming and fairer international trade. We wish you inspiration in reading this report . NGOs. organising and thus empowering family farmers. made a passionate plea to the participants and the Dutch Government to support the Campaign for the International Year of Family Farming.increase in agricultural production. researchers and Governments are promoting the idea of an International Year for Family Farming. The challenges facing family farming are daunting.net 5 | ileia .familyfarmingcampaign. scientists and policymakers. And in Africa. sustainable and organic agriculture are viable alternatives to mainstream agriculture. The workshops made clear that consumers’ awareness and farmers’ mobilisation call for alternative ways and that farmers actually do find opportunities to improve their situation. Jose Osaba Garcia.youtube. In Asia. the agroecology movement facilitates knowledge building and exchange between farmers. initiator. growing inequalities and farmers falling into a debt trap. to promote a wider acknowledgement of its significance.

. 26 Colophon . 1 Presentations .Asia .Dr.. 2 Summary .. 1 Workshops .. 20 Workshops .  Presentations ..... 2 ...Africa . Gopal . 2 CV speakers .K. Camilla Toulmin . 11 Presentations ....Edith van Walsum .... 22 Workshops .... 15 Presentations ... S..Latin America ..Content Introduction .Dr.  Report of the day .. Olufunke Cofie .

the Climate Change summit in Copenhagen in December 2009 has made clear that there is great urgency in finding answers to climate change. People should return to indigenous crops and food habits. It is about the rights of families to produce food on their own terms. The world is running out of options: India alone has 450 million family farmers. Resilience of family farming systems is an advantage in this respect. and this will double in 30 years. affordable and culturally appropriate food to the urban population. not the industrial farms. making use of the practical experience of generations of many millions of farmers. Farmers are innovators. small farmers are the ones that feed world. vegetables.Report of the day Bram Huijsman Climate Despite its failure to come up with objective targets and solutions. animal products) for city dwellers. such as nutrients and water. The key is to upgrade waste to resources. What happens to water and moisture is of vital importance. for example by recovery or reuse of nutrients and water. (Peri)urban agriculture is also important as a strategy for coping with climate change. and access to CO2 compensation markets for small farmers. Their systems have built in resilience to climate change. many family farms produce perishable foods (fruits. and this can give a large impetus to family farming. especially because of the diversity of crops. but more answers from a family farming perspective are needed. With products showing more natural and seasonal diversity than what is sold in western supermarkets. land grabbing. But can urgan agriculture alone feed the growing city population or are better linkages with rural farming needed?  | ileia Family farming Family farming is about improving livelihoods. for instance on bio-fuels. food. Small farmers are efficient producers of . They provide nutritious. And they want to be autonomous. It is obvious that low carbon agriculture is the future. Urban agriculture In and around cities.

At the same time. organic agriculture stands for a new way of agriculture. The best environment in which to promote agro-ecology is democracy. in which family farming plays a crucial role. the political lead question with regards to agriculture is safety of food. Now 230. Sustainable land and water management and appropriate technologies are the only alternative. In India. but problems in assuring food sovereignty are not merely Feeding the world in Asia In China. Agriculture is a livelihood: it employs people. Interestingly. due to a combined effect of increase in household size and external factors such as land grabbing and conflicting interests between farmers and pastoralists. The increased awareness of consumers in booming Asian cities may become an important driver of sustainable/organic agriculture in the coming years. as well as individuals and representatives of local. Climate change. Family farmers in China are important. but also reinforcing the state and its institutions and ensuring an adequate balance of power. for they will be responsible for feeding the world in 2050. They focus on industrial production methods. In Indonesia.The answer is that urban agriculture might develop and open up new areas. Agro-ecology movement in Latin America In Latin America. there is a growing demand for food from the urban population. it is diversified and integrated. farmers plant different crops for the market and Gert Jan Becx questioning the speakers Roberto Ugas questioning the speakers  | ileia . An important question is what role the younger generation will want to play in agriculture. All efforts should aim at reinforcing this democracy: strengthening the civil society. Family farming should ensure food sovereignty. What brings these persons and organisations together is their interest in exchanging knowledge. and food miles must be reduced. the agro-ecology movement represents many organisations and networks. as they produce 20% of the food in the world. the Green Revolution has been a mismatch because of its high costs and displacement of farmers depending on rain-fed agriculture. and in participating in a broad debate on the role of agriculture in contemporary society. especially in the younger generation who sees no future in farming. but both systems are needed to provide enough food. poverty and food supply need to be addressed in an integrated way. Households therefore must seek diversity in economic resources.000 hectares are under some sort of organic agriculture. ICTs for food in Africa African family farming systems are characterised by an increased pressure on land. regional and national governments. for themselves. Documentation and systematization processes play a key role here. Migration is high.

The regional magazines document practical field experiences from smallscale family farming. Scientists. However. NGOs and state institutions exchange and adapt their experiences and focus. In his speech he highlighted ileia’s proven value in sharing local experiences with small-scale farming and he welcomed the intention of ileia to target policymakers with the magazine. farmers. Agroecology. Actually. a global magazine on small-scale family farming. but also for local and regional markets. ICTs can link farmers to market information and buyers. They have found colleagues and scientists in the agro-ecology movement. On the other hand. there is a rather small group of very large farmers producing for international and regional markets. the global edition aims more and more to link experiences of small-scale farmers to global discussions and to make small-scale farming visible as a viable option for development. and state and commercial farmers can learn a lot from them. to defend their rights collectively. The new name of the magazine is Farming Matters. But it may help also in organizing them. or low-external-input sustainable agriculture. …in Asia In Asia. Small farmers have the expertise in this. by the publication of (former) LEISA Magazine. They have Paul Menkveld A new magazine 9 | ileia . Paul Menkveld. Political involvement is even more important: empowered farmers produce more. …in Latin America As already mentioned. ileia is working with seven partners in the AgriCultures Network. knowledge building in Latin America is for a large part institutionalized in the agro-ecology movement. there is a very large group of small farmers (about 17 million) producing for their families. technique can play a role. On the one hand. Farming Matters… Information is crucial in small-scale farming everywhere. providing a forum in which to exchange problems and experiences that can improve their agricultural techniques. They offer an opportunity for those working in agricultural development to publish their experiences and to read about the experiences of others. small farmers (over 200 million) produce the bulk of the food for the region and even for the world.technical. is widely known and accepted. There is a growing dichotomy in Latin America. Now that ileia is working with regional partners. ileia has played an important role in improving farmers’ access to information in the last 25 years. Mobile phones have already had an enormous impact in Africa. director of the Sustainable Economic Development Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands released the new magazine.

ICTs offer opportunities to reach a large audience with this practical information on prices and markets. commerce and agriculture. But there is another component in information: to develop into a critical mass. 80 percent of agricultural production comes from small farmers (some 33 million) on farms of less than 2 hectares. information needs to focus on organic fertilizers. Therefore. resulting in a high suicide rate among farmers who have problems repaying their debts. but has had negative consequences as well: hybrid crops are not adapted to certain climatic and weather conditions. Small farmers in Africa need knowledge on agricultural techniques suited for farming in dry. they need to know what property rights on land they can claim so that they can invest in their lands. They produce 90 percent of all food products in the region. offering chances for everyone. mixed techniques and risk management. about their rights as citizens. …in Africa In Africa. Reporting back from the workshops. Intensification of food production is needed for the growing population. in the field of finance..been supported by state and NGOs to adopt a commercial way of farming. and it has worked: mobile phones have changed the world in Africa. as these have already proven not to be very worthwhile in all situations. Empowered farmers farm better: they invest in land fertility and sustainable production methods. The Green Revolution has certainly improved yields and food availability. That has been the most practical and efficient strategy to choose in the fast changing world of communications. whereas the growing demand for food asks for intensification in less favourable rain-fed agricultural regions. But farmers also need information on things like better commercialisation of their products. as they did with jumping onto the right path of mobile phones. The Green Revolution has merely focused on irrigated rice production. farmers are highly dependent on credits for fertilizers and other inputs. small farmers need information about the democratic systems.. Asia is on a crossroad in the development of agricultural systems. The situation in Africa could even be looked upon in a very optimistic way: Africa could jump directly onto the right path to sustainable farming. marginal areas. 10 | ileia . Will only big industrial farms be capable of producing this growing demand or will small farmers have something to offer with their sustainable or organic smallholdings? Farmers need to exchange and build up information on good practices and alternatives for intensive production techniques.

to see that agriculture has been part of the climate problem. of water. Multi-functional family farming Climate continues to be not only a livelihood The discussion on global warming and strategy for hundreds of millions of agriculture focuses on issues such as families. but realistic. mainly focused on tropical such as diversity in crop mixes natural resources and on how to produce more and better management forests and reforestation. food with less input. Camilla Toulmin gave an update of the current international debate on agriculture’s role in climate change. This demands both global science and local skills. biodiversity. but well-managed land can retain and absorb significant quantities of organic carbon. but if science could carbon management will what happens to water be guided by the needs and shift out of forests and into and moisture availability perspectives of family farming. For agriculture represents a source as well as a sink for carbon: ploughed land releases greenhouse gases. is vital. Camilla Toulmin Dr. water mechanisms that will be crucial in ‘Climate negotiators are use. Low carbon agriculture Diversity in agriculture is important to cope with climate change and to make effective use of natural resources.Copenhagen implications for family Coming straight from the Copenhagen Climate Summit.Presentations . it also has in-built resilience carbon emission. Camilla Toulmin: Climate change and agriculture . Toulmin is convinced that the family farming movement has space to take off. Reification of but it is very likely that in Changes in temperature indigenous knowledge as the the next five to ten years. It is important 11 | ileia . are important for farming solution to all problems is not and farming systems.Dr. Impressed by the huge amount of information and the many different ideas about the rapidly changing context of climate and agriculture. but also has the potential to be part of the solution. She ended with linking the climate negotiations to the future of family farming worldwide. agriculture more broadly’ we could gain a lot. use of the context of climate change. Flexibility and adaptability are crucial for climate and agriculture.

Thus. Much of the industrial sector cannot survive under a low-carbon model and with properly-priced greenhouse gases. We need 12 | ileia . Industrial agriculture will need to learn from family farming. Consumer pressure Consumers play an important role in the climate-agriculture debate. energy costs and the food miles debate (how far should food travel from producer to consumer?) would need to be looked at in terms of their implications on family farming. whereas other changes in their lives would make a far greater impact than stopping the purchase of produce from African farmers. carbon offsets. What helps is a better understanding and awareness of the global power of consumers: we can shame supermarket bosses into addressing issues. to meet consumers´ as well as producers´ needs. Another issue is the payments for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Desertification (REDD): forests must be worth more standing than felled. Voices of family farmers need to be heard in this. Consumers have also been guided by the misperception that carbon footprints of fruits and vegetables flown in from Africa are too high. Governments need to make collective statements and regulations concerning what is acceptable and what not. but can family farmers win in this system? At the moment the system is in flux and we need to develop ideas of what family farming can offer to the debate. We must also look at alternative procurement channels. Africa often gets nothing out of cooperation for fixing carbon. low carbon agriculture is the future. The next 6 to 12 months will be critical for finding solution for climate change and choosing good agricultural strategies. it may be more realistic to make supermarkets work better. Can family farmers feed 9 billion people by 2050. But the majority of buyers are deeply conservative. Other commercially produced crops survive only because of preferential access to credit. to design systems that allow market access to suppliers of carbon surpluses. large foreign land acquisitions in Africa for food and bio-fuel crops. Even Binswanger. inputs and markets offered by governments. and how? A clear design of low-carbon agriculture is needed. In an imperfect world. former economist of the World Bank stated that only for a few plantation crops is large-scale production economically advantageous. both as threats and opportunities. especially small African producers. Small farmers Climate policy now being developed will have impact on agriculture and farming systems: the question of biofuels.

but entrepreneurs Anantapur district explains their choice who try to make optimal use of their for multi-functional organic agriculture. organic inputs but about an productive resources. The example not exploiting from India shows how farmers Industrial farmers are driven them.K. This policy has had dependency from money lenders. This family talk about the value of their explains the advantages of ‘Family farmers optimize cow. farmers fell into a debt trap. rights of women farmers to produce food groundnut. 1 | ileia . Family farming is about more As of today. The communities being given a fair chance to family explains how farmers have become improve their livelihoods. Autonomy and Way Forward Gopal’s presentation was preceded by a Autonomy short film. Many They want to be autonomous. Where is the monsoon?. entire lifestyle. It is about India is under dry land cultivation. micro-organisms. erratic. That is their experience this environmental by supply opportunities and philosophical mindset. market prices making use of the practical experience of came down and rains became more generations of many millions of farmers. in In this struggle. change and how they struggle profit optimization’ to find solutions. dung as soil nutrient available resources. S. family farmers are neither which an Indian family from the semi-arid heroes nor victims. It is about decreasing since the 1970s. disastrous consequences: as fertilisers from external inputs and from external and pesticides were not very ineffective knowledge. 60% of agricultural land in than producing commodities. animals and humans). The production as to sustain and urine for pest control. It is about the completely dependent on one cash crop. which provides not only a more diverse approach to milk or meat but also timely available factors of farming that builds on locally plough. Farmers are innovators. film however shows that it is every one’s health needs Farmers are trying to seek not just about farming with quality of life by optimizing (soils. Farmers committed suicide. Gopal K.Resilience. s. Gopal: Food and Family Farming . under dryland conditions.Presentations . resources. promoted by the Government on their own terms.

But family farmers cannot and do not want to succeed in a vacuum.reason to believe that small farmers are inefficient. do we want them to do that? What is the global order we are looking for? The policy focus on one product and the industrial production pricing does not take into account the key elements of the family farmer framework. Government support The government of India has waived 10 million of loans for farmers. We need to understand this first to be able to understand family farming. These food habits should change and governments must provide support. the world is running out of options. Fertilizer subsidy was 15 billion euros in India last year. So nations and states need to know what family farmers need. Practicing farmers observe minute changes. All farmers have risk management strategies of up to three years. which leads to distortions in products and economies. Consumers should return to indigenous food. Now they have only rice and wheat. not how do we create more products. and he blames the multinational seed companies and state policy focusing on one or two crops only. but small farmers feed the world. Narayana Reddy. they are an early warning system. Diverse crops are vital to building a resilient system. The issue is. Family farming is closely related to food security and the right to food. It overlooks principles of ecology. products and services for farmers. how do we manage change in these turbulent times. Family farmers’ objective is independence. Family farmers can solve the hunger problem in the world. told from his own experience that formerly there were at least 16 local millets. It is up to society to decide which type of food it wants and what consequences that should have for the economy. Therefore we need to look at the global economic order and the direction in which it is moving. not industries. sustainable development and human values. and this may also become a motivation for the younger generation to stay in farming. Do we want to solve the problem? Seventy percent of people live in cities. Protection in India is geared towards supporting specific products. This is in the first place an issue of confidence about the access to food. farmers know exactly what plants are best suited to specific environmental circumstances. Narayana Reddy Diverse farming systems Moreover. At the same time. We need to create synergy – knowledge. Production has especially fallen in monoculture. One Indian farmer. They need considerable policy support. not just in yields but also in multiple change effects still unknown to scientists. There is no 1 | ileia . especially in face of changes in temperature and rainfall. yet 70% of our food comes from family farming. Grains for people are now fed to animals to produce meat. India has 450 million people in small-scale farming and this will almost double to 800 milion by 2050. Science can learn a lot from small-scale farmers. Maybe their products show more natural and seasonal diversity. in irrigated areas. In fact. The question is. present at the conference. India in the last 10 years has lost many traditional breeds.

In and around cities. Nutrient pit (Peri)urban agriculture can be important as a strategy to cope with climate change. wheat and poultry. lettuce in Accra is mainly provided by urban farmers and purchased by street vendors selling fast food. by recovery/reuse of nutrients and Consumption and production water. yam. The key is to upgrade waste to Urban consumers use food products resources. Accra’s food is partly imported from abroad and available in supermarkets. products. for Kumasi and 75 percent for Tamale.Dr. such rice. Although the a resource sink. 70 percent and plantain. many family farms The total annual rural‘In Ghana 19 percent of the rural urban nutrient flow has a produce perishable foods: fruits. For instance. complex urban systems and consequences of climate change. capital of Ghana. Rural The city can be seen as a nutrients pit. Cities face dynamic pressures resulting from rapid urbanization. Olufunke Cofie Dr. from rural and urban farmers. About 200. cassava soils flow in from rural areas. but Most affected are food crop farmers’ contribution of urban the bulk of nutrients 15 | ileia . farmers in Ghana provide markets in Ninety percent of nutrients in Accra´s Accra with staples: maize. In 2010. such as nutrients and water. it remains the main source of key commodities such as fresh leafy vegetables.Presentations . e.000 people consume this daily through street vendors. leafy fertilizer value of US$ population and 10 percent of the vegetables and animal 10 million.. Urban agriculture is crucial for urban food security. But local and fresh food products come from the country. and peri-urban agriculture to overall food supply to the city is considerably lower than that of the countryside. each with an impact on the urban food situation. 51 percent of Ghana’s population lives in cities. The city is urban population are food insecure. Taking into account restaurants and hotels. this number would be even more.g. olufunKe Cofie: Urban agriculture in Ghana: Family farming and the food system of Olufinke Cofie’s presentation was preceded by a film Feeding and greening the city on food systems and urban agriculture in Accra.

supermarkets and buyers for international markets. Two ‘The role of urban or peri-urban resulting water key aspects for future: the problem and agriculture is in enhancing urban development of a sustainable competing claims food security by providing nutritious. the government. urban farmers can choose to produce for national. farmers’ organisations are small. But Ghanaian organisations are fairly strong. Urban and rural is a big future food to the urban population’ agriculture have to be integrated for urban family in the national policy. affordable and culturally appropriate Accra and better urban-rural whether there linkages. regional and even international markets. with the actual rate of a legitimate use of urban land and urbanisation and resources by governments. The two systems will complement each other in providing enough food. Marketing More than rural farmers. because recycling is minimal. farming. Urban food security There is an important role for (peri)urban agriculture in enhancing urban food security.end up in the drains or landfills. combining family farming and community farming. It might move and open up new areas. Marketing channels for agricultural food products are found through intermediation of middlemen. farmers’ organisations are often larger. Or are better linkages with rural farming needed to supply enough food for the urban population? According to Cofie there is always a place for urban farming. In Ghana. food production system for on land in mind. In other countries. Urban agriculture is now being seen as The question is. but it remains. but they are registered and supported by 16 | ileia . many work together in platforms.

magazine and its seven regional editions The organisation supports agriculture that in different parts of the world reach out is socially just. It hundreds of thousands of readers have promoted LEISA as an inclusive.000 subscribers and ecologically sustainable. economically sound and to more than 50. Over use of local skills and resources rather the years. ileia’s Farming Matters network is locally rooted and globally The scope has widened and this is connected. Resilience and diversity are reflected in the contents of the Magazine.Edith van Walsum eDiTH van Walsum: Knowledge networking at crossroads Edith van Walsum is director of ileia and From History to Future commemorated ileia’s 25 th birthday. it had a circulation of of knowledge sharing and expertise 500 copies. In the early subsistence farming. She Ileia started publishing its magazine in proudly looked back on ileia’s 25 years 1984. been contributing. Ileia’s on entrepreneurial focus has always been on small-scale ‘Women are at the skills and innovation. key words now. sharing. we are leaving the past. At that time. years. ileia encouraged the exchange between practitioners. family farmers. 1 | ileia . thousands of authors and than chemical fertilizers and pesticides. using and non-dogmatic concept. shows the vitality and promises of this approach for the years to come. as they have been in the Today. practical. which was at its peak has been a platform for knowledge in the mid 1980s. though the scope has it has gone beyond heart of family farming’ widened over the years.Presentations . the dream to build an alternative to green Since its initiation. Twenty-five years LEISA: Low External Input Sustainable of global exchange of local knowledge Agriculture. farmers’ agricultural practices it has a market and the use of local inputs were central. By focusing validating practical experiences. in 2009. Today the global edition of the development in sustainable agriculture. It started with to many more readers in 154 countries. orientation and is broader than organic and this was embodied in the term agriculture alone. the magazine revolution thinking.

as we feel it has become too narrow a term. and adopted the motto: Locally rooted. globally connected. To celebrate this milestone. and will link these to local experiences and needs. also demarcates a milestone in the growth process of ileia’s network. Locally rooted. LEISA practices are not an aim in themselves but one of the means towards an end. Africa and Asia sourced many of the articles for their regional editions of LEISA Magazine from the global edition. 1 | ileia . globally connected Farming Matters.name LEISA behind us. the network has renamed itself as the AgriCultures network. Previously ileia’s regional partners in Latin America. the renewed magazine. This has been the reason for ileia to change the name of LEISA Magazine into Farming Matters. whereas they now source information predominantly at regional level and feed the global team with this information. The global edition will from now onwards focus more on global issues and trends. Family farmers are solution providers and it is important to put them central.

Agro Eco Louis Bolk. the partner CBIK organises Farmer Field School reading groups. e. ETC Andes uses other media than magazines (e. RUAF and Both Ends) is a step in this direction. who rarely read magazines because of illiteracy. Women farmers are often not educated. Heifer Netherlands. several AgriCultures partners noted the trend of migrants returning home from cities to rural areas. Family farming is women’s farming Family farming is women’s farming to a large extent. This illustrates the resilience of family farms in dealing with sudden changes. In Peru. educators use it as a source of inspiration for teaching. which poses a special challenge to the magazines of how to address them. ileia also plans to work more with rural journalists who write articles in local newspapers. and also shows that women are the backbone of this resilience. in Western Europe. In China. Further strengthening of the global AgriCultures Network and engaging in new global partnerships are equally important. It was mainly women who had been keeping the farms going while their male relatives had gone to the cities. Collaboration with research in validating sustainable agriculture practices. migration and desertion of women by men. women and youth in their own local languages. and a Tanzanian MP has been referring to the magazine during Parliament sessions.The network’s magazines are used in a variety of settings. Reflecting on the effects of food and financial crises.g.g. which reach more men. and an active engagement with policy are crucial. today’s global challenges. The formation of a Sustainable Agriculture Alliance with five other Dutch organisations (ETC. the number of female-headed households in rural areas is increasing because of death. this means that we should reach different target audiences and develop new ways of collaboration.. radio and video) in addressing women. last but not least. farmers use technical ‘how to’ articles and are debating articles in meetings. In the coming years. Globally. In Brazil the magazine is part and parcel of the agro-ecology movement. Eastern Europe/Central Asia and. these women had to suddenly accommodate ‘extra’ family members. New partnerships ileia believes that a wider global acknowledgement of the role of family farming is required in the context of 19 | ileia . In the coming years the AgriCultures network will seek new partners in the Arab world.

There are conceptual differences Documentation and systematization between those who have a processes play a key role. regional and experiences. The remarks in the video on this congress and the meaning of the South American agro-ecology movement were complemented by Roberto Ugas (la Molina University in Lima. interest or a field-based programme into ecology. Brazil. GMOs and globalization). the expertise in agrowhile even greater differences become activists. According of the world. others participating in a broad debate on the role look at biodiversity or Intellectual Property of agriculture in contemporary society. The movement Exchanging knowledge The Latin American agro-ecology movement represents many organizations The movement is a range of efforts and networks. the role of the Church against the dictatorships of the time.Workshops . to Paulo Petersen this diversity is due to historical processes in the region: the fight of peasants for land reform. All of them work with and organisations together is their different aims and objectives: some aim at interest in exchanging knowledge. Rights. and the ‘expressions of resistance’ which are seen nowadays (against. the ‘owners’ of an experience. for example. the democratization and decentralisation processes going on since the 1980s. the modernization processes of the 1960s and 1970s. Translating in involvement. strict ‘organic’ focus and those through which practitioners. as well as individuals and and initiatives giving value to a set of representatives of local. in November 2009. can be observed. 20 | ileia . and state and commitment between the commercial farmers can a political discourse can be various national governments an example for other regions learn a lot from them. Peru) and Paulo Petersen (AS-PTA in Brazil). also for Europe. What brings these persons national governments. or Small farmers have with a broader perspective.Latin America paulo peTersen: Latin America: The agro-ecology movement The workshop started with a short video showing some interviews with some of the participants at the agro-ecology congress held in Curitiba. and in strengthening farmer organisations.

but also reinforcing the state and its institutions and ensuring an adequate balance of power. This is what helps increase the linkages and the exchange of opinions. An important question is on the role of the younger generation: they will be responsible for feeding the world in 2050. Many young people are already participating actively. the Agricultures network can empower the movement. Role of the government Governments actively participate in the Latin American movement. 21 | ileia . for instance consumers. but rather the problem’. All efforts should aim at reinforcing this democracy: strengthening the civil society. exporters of agricultural products (organic products go abroad) and people migrated from another region and keeping on to food traditions from home. ideas and information. as was clearly seen in the Curitiba meeting itself. and by developing a documentation culture. and in building knowledge from practice. but be part of the movement and complementing each other. By stimulating people to write. other interest groups are included. However the larger picture is that many youths are losing interest in agriculture. A magazine in the movement Magazines are playing a key role in linking individuals and organizations to the agro-ecology movement. Farming Matters and the regional editions should not be external magazines. The best environment in which to promote agro-ecology is democracy. but sometimes interacting with the government ‘is not the solution. Besides family farmers. The AgriCultures network’s niche lies in the documentation of experiences.The focus of the movement is broader than the technical aspects of agricultural production. as in other parts of the world. and in forming networks at different levels.

transfer rights. director of NGO Accion Fraterna in Anantapur. According to Qian Jie. which has been a mismatch for India because of its high The growing demand costs and the displacement of for food asks for farmers depending on rain-fed agriculture. After the polluted milk and other scandals. They focus on the industrial way of producing. However a considerable percentage of Chinese farmers lives in mountainous regions. China Qian Jie. loss of agro-biodiversity. director of CBIK. focused in his presentation on the Green Revolution. malla reDDy. Agriculture is a intensification in less livelihood: it employs people. high prices of seeds and genetically-modified crop species. There is unhealthy competition because of illegal production methods and practices in grassroots markets. said in her presentation that the political lead question in China with regards to agriculture is safety of food. who are producing 20% of food of the world. The environment is polluted. like western farmers (also in majority family farmers). farmers plant different crops for the market and for themselves. Chinese people now have become interested. some answers and backgrounds were given to the question of whether family farmers can feed Asia. but this resulted in high input agriculture. Interestingly. In three different presentations. these farmers continue to follow more varied and localised practices. an NGO in south-west China working on food security and land issues. favourable rain-fed it is diversified and integrated. Land policies in China have shifted from a householdresponsibility contract system to a system of multiple ownership and the possibility to India Malla Reddy. the massive outcry of urban consumers for healthy food is driving a process towards more sustainable production. It is largely family farmers in China. Qian jie: Asia: can family farmers feed Asia? Asia is immense and diverse. agricultural regions Instead of improving the 22 | ileia . The Ministry has apologised and is in the process of setting up a Quality Control system.Asia inDro surono. The state-run system has accelerated the development of Chinese agriculture.Workshops .

but growing. the term ‘organic’ stands for a new way of agriculture. imports and exports need to be reduced. Food self-sufficiency is receding and most of the powerful forces promote technical solutions. you do not need to waste resources on certification’.000 hectares are under some sort of organic agriculture. industry and research that is far more powerful.000 farmers who did not know how to get out of their debts. problems and relations of dependency and debt of family farmers. said Surono. In Indonesia. government policies in Asian countries have been focused on a limited number of crops. This has led to a crisis in agriculture and to suicides of around 100. Land conversion is still on-going to meet the food demands. A more localised approach to ensuring food security would make more sense than continuing to subsidize rice and wheat production. livelihood. poverty and food supply have to be addressed in an integrated way: food miles. But in reality intensification is wasteful. India embarked on a borrowed system. Policymakers and researchers have been brainwashed in intensification with a few simple ingredients. Indonesia Indro Surono (former president of the Indonesian Organic Agriculture Alliance) and Shintia Darwina (editor of Petani Magazine) stated that industrial farming has in fact no future in Indonesia. the nexus between government. ‘If all food becomes organic. The organic movement in Indonesia and other countries is still small. Sustainable land and water management and appropriate technologies are the only alternative. Now 230. Yet the Government keeps subsidising inputs. which are water-intensive crops. The Green Revolution with its lending for technical packages and building up debts has been a traumatic experience for farmers.existing system. leading to environmental 2 | ileia . organic agriculture is emerging as an alternative. While many young farmers are turning their back towards modern industrial agriculture. The organic movement is still small compared to the established movement. Redefining food security in Asia As the Indian film Where is the monsoon? also showed. as a simple and easy recipe. The increased awareness of consumers in booming Asian cities (in China reinforced by the polluted milk scandals) may become an important driver of sustainable/organic agriculture in the coming years. But climate change. Young villagers are not interested in agriculture.

An example from Niger was brought up to show that organizing people is not enough to improve food sovereignty. The most vulnerable are still left out. At the same time. food sovereignty is about the right to food and . The discussion focused on the political side of food sovereignty: only since the last two years (with the price hikes of 2007-2008). Bara pointed that a purely technical approach will not be enough to get more food produced. there is a growing demand for food from urban population.Africa james nGuo. moussa BaDji. Bara Gueye: Africa: the future of family farming and the role of ITC Increased land pressure Bara Gueye. access to land. due to a combined effect of increase in household size and external factors such as land grabbing and conflicting interests of farmers/ pastoralists. there is still hunger. So family farming is not always the answer. linking farmers’ information on local commodities and 2 | ileia Food sovereignty Food sovereignty is more than just food security. especially by the younger generation who sees no future in farming. Where food security focuses on production and productivity. Migration is high. governments have taken Empowered farmers the problem farm better more seriously and have dedicated resources and attention to it. shared some experiences with the use of ICTs in Kenya. Family farming plays a crucial role in supplying food to the cities.Workshops . But their influence (to be promoted by better access to information) is needed to ensure inclusive agricultural policies. director of IED Afrique pointed out that the West African context of family farming is characterised by an increased pressure on land. But pastoralism has to be taken into account too! ICTs and mobile phones James Nguo. director of ALIN (Arid Lands Information Network). the problem is mainly political: empowered famers can be more productive. Households therefore must search diversity in economic resources. ALIN has set up some Commodity Resource Platforms. The increased household size does not necessarily mean that there is an increased workforce too: there is less land per worker.

Policy commitment to promote family farming and fairer international trade conditions are needed. Compared to other marketing initiatives. One of the knowledge centers was even officially honored for its contribution to marketing. This has changed the money transfer system a lot. i-pods with ‘how to’ information can be lent by farmers (many of them women) to look at them at home. Mobile telephony has huge potential in Africa. But there is a need to bridge the wide gap between high level ideas and policies. internet access. Promote family farming Both national corruption and international agricultural and trading policies have a big influence on the local situation. in their own time. and the implementation of these on the ground. video’s and training facilities supported by ALIN). They can directly communicate with supermarkets and traders in towns. The knowledge centers play an important role: they attracts young people. having a mobile phone is like having a bank account.market opportunities in the rest of the country. magazines. but can hardly be managed at local level. ALIN uses people in their regional knowledge centers (with books. i-pods. ALIN’s information channels are very direct and up-to-date. The system is free for farmers. the family farming movement should use this space for new initiatives. but traders buy the information at a fee. The CADEP initiative (NEPAD’s programme on the revitalisation of African agriculture) is promising. 25 | ileia .

Olufunke Cofie Olufunke Cofie is research scientist at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and Regional Coordinator of the Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF). India that combines research.S. from farmer and researchers to national governments. Through field research. Gopal is founding father of the Indian Centre for Environmental Concerns (CEC). She has over ten years research and training experience on various aspects of natural resource management in dev eloping countries. and institutional learning processes in sustainable agriculture. K. She started as a university lecturer in Nigeria and Ghana and is now research scientist at IWMI. She worked as development practitioner in West Africa and India for 15 years. Her work has always focused on social. minimum wages. particularly women.S. At this moment he is deeply involved in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. is director of ileia in the Netherlands since 2007. a social protection programme addressing rural poverty by employment entitlements. 26 | ileia . advocacy and innovation of processes and environmental services. Cofie has experiences in soil fertility. an organisation based in Hyderabad. credits and other inputs. is director of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in the UK. policy analysis and advocacy she has been involved with people at many different levels.CV speakers Camilla Toulmin Camilla Toulmin. Edith van Walsum Edith van Walsum. NGOs. agronomy and agriculture-sanitation linkages. was lecturer Gender studies in Agriculture at Wageningen University and worked as a consultant. soil and water management. rural sociologist. Gopal K. donor agencies and international bodies. extension. economist. Her special interests are the empowerment of smallscale farmers. economic and environmental development in dry-land Africa.

and to identify what other stakeholders in agriculture should do to give family farmers their due space. organic farmer and Malla Reddy from Accion Fraterna. and contributes to a wider recognition of small-scale family farming in society. Sharing knowledge and practical experience empowers farmers and fieldworkers. Nature and Food Quality (LNV) permitted ileia to produce the films on sustainable dry-land farming in India and on urban agriculture in Ghana. The objective was to explore how family farming addresses global problems like climate change and food security.org Contact information ileia ileia – centre for learning on sustainable agriculture PO Box 2067 3800 CB Amersfoort The Netherlands Tel: 00 31 (0)33 4673870 Partners ileia has collaborated with Schuttelaar & Partners to organise this conference. so that they can actualise their potential. For more information see www. ileia is part of the global AgriCultures Network. Donations by several participants at the ileia conference made it possible to invite and support two special guests from India: Narayana Reddy. have been the main financial supporters of this conference. publish and widely share relevant experiences in small-scale.ileia. DGIS and Sida. sustainable agriculture. Ileia’s two main donors.Colophon Conference on the future of family farming ileia organised a conference on the future of family farming on 15 December 2009 in Nieuwspoort in The Hague (the Netherlands). ileia’s mission is to find. whose member organisations all gather and share knowledge on sustainable small-scale farming. document. 2 | ileia . an NGO in Anantapur. on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. systematise. This consultancy firm has extensive experience in the organisation of events and has content expertise and an impressive network in the field of food and global developments. The broader aim was to bring together people working in the sector and present ileia as a global knowledge broker in the field of sustainable farming. The contribution of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture.

org .www.ileia.

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