WFO at WTO Public Forum 2014 - Trade and Family Farming: Opportunities and Challenges

02 Oct 2014

In the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO)'s Public Forum 2014, the world’s farmers will share experiences during a working session on "Trade and Family Farming: opportunities and challenges". This special event is co-organised by the World Farmer’s Organisation (WFO) and Schweizer Bauernverband (Swiss Farmers’ Union) on Thursday, 2 October at 15:00-17:00 (CEST) in WS 21/ Room E. WFO invites its members, partners, and stakeholders to participate and join a special event focused on agriculture at WTO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.


The Public Forum is the WTO’s largest annual outreach event, which provides a platform for participants to discuss the latest developments in world trade and to propose ways of enhancing the multilateral trading system. The event regularly attracts over 1,500 representatives from civil society, academia, business, the media, governments, parliamentarians, and inter-governmental organisations.


This year, the Public Forum tells the human story behind trade. It showcases the myriad connections between trade and people's daily lives and demonstrates how trade improves the day-to-day lives of citizens around the globe. Under this thematic umbrella, three sub-themes are covered: trade and jobs - trade and consumers - trade and Africa. Participants will also share their views on the Doha Round roadmap.


The United Nations declared the year 2014 the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF). There is a strong and controversial link between family farming and trade that must be discussed at this year’s WTO Public Forum. There is no doubt about it: food and farming matter for everyone across the globe. Food security, food souvernity and globalisation are ever more important. In many countries a huge part of the society depends on income from agriculture. Most among these farmers are farming families. Their farms, from small, medium quite large, are part of local, national, and international value chains. Open international trade regimes can bring new opportunities to family farmers. On the other hand - and we shall not deny it - trade liberalisation also leads to challenges for family farmers. However, a transparent, predictable and accountable trading environment is crucial, especially for family farmers.


Although it has been proven that family farming is not always the most efficient model if we use a macroeconomic approach, if other criteria are taken into consideration then family farming proves to be a robust and sustainable model. Family farms not only create many jobs in agriculture, but also within the entire value chain, particularly in rural economies. Family farming offers social security for the wider family (community). Family farmers care and utilise natural resources in a way which ensures the availability of the resources for a long-term, since they do not only focus on short-term maximisation of gains. During international policy discussions during this year of family farming many common views and challenges in developed and developing countries have been recognised.


Speakers at the WFO joint event include:



If you are unable to attend, WFO warmly invites you to actively contribute to its working sessions on Twitter by using the hashtag #pf14.


Trade matters to farmers, farming, and agriculture the world over! Learn more about WTO's Public Forum 2014, including webcasts, at

WFO Policy on International Trade