The family and the farm are strongly interlinked; the family provides the main part of the labour force and controls the main resources on which the farm is based. Family and farm represent a unity that continuously co-evolves, fulfilling economic, environmental, social and cultural functions of the wider rural economy and within territorial networks in which they are embedded. The 2014 International Year of Family Farming, IYFF, successfully repositioned family farming at the centre of agricultural, environmental and social policies in national, regional and global agendas and identified needs and further opportunities to strengthen political commitments to reformulate programs and institutional arrangements for the benefit of family farming. On December 20th 2017, the United Nations General Assembly, in its 72nd session, proclaimed the UN Decade of Family Farming 2019 -2028. The Decade of Family Farming has two transversal objectives: promotion of young family farmers and the promotion of gender equality in family farms.

  • What instruments are needed to promote gender equality in family farming?
  • What good practices there are to achieve women’s rights and gender equality in food and agriculture production?
  • What can real socio-economic integration instruments be used to bring youth into the right frame of the family farming agenda?
  • What are the barriers to the integration of youth into the family farming agenda?

These and other questions were answered by the speakers and participants of the technical session entitled “United Nations Decade of Family Farming – Women and Youth as its transversal objective”, jointly organized by the WFO Women and Youth Committees within the framework of the 2019 WFO General Assembly, that took place in Luxembourg from May 20th to 23rd, 2019.

The speakers taking part in the debate included: Anna Korzenszky, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO; Jannes Maes, European Council of Young Farmers, CEJA; Dimakatso Sekhoto, African Farmers Association of South Africa, AFASA; Luc Emering, Lëtzebuerger Landjugend a Jongbaueren, LJBJW; Judith Kons, Global Forum for Food and Agriculture, GFFA; Denis Kabiito, Young Farmers’ Federation of Uganda, UNYFA; Saquina Mucavele, Mulher, Género e Desenvolvimento, MUGEDE; Nandini Azad, Indian Co-operative Network for Women, ICNW; Auxtin Ortiz, World Rural Forum, WRF; Kati Partanen, Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners, MTK; Torben Nilsson, International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD.

Here are 10 overarching themes from the event it is worth remembering:

  1. Family farmers can really contribute to sustainable development when they are supported and empowered;
  2. If the youth doesn’t remain on the farm, we will have no farming in the future!
  3. Exposing youth to agriculture, showing them there are opportunities, is the point!
  4. Agriculture is extremely complex and what is needed the most is education;
  5. More equitable prices are needed for women and young farmers to engage in agriculture;
  6. Designing and implementing specific policies for empowering women farmers: If we support women, we support the entire agricultural sector;
  7. More holistic Gender Equality Programs. Women’s decision-making power is central to achieve gender equality in family farming;
  8. Young and Women farmers deserve to take a seat around the big table, being involved in every debate;
  9. Promoting family farmers’ access to information and knowledge;
  10. More inclusivenessfarmers should be more involved in the policymaking process.