FAO launches digital platform to help family farmers
MANILA, Philippines – Family farmers play a big role in fighting food insecurity and hunger worldwide but they are often given less importance, resulting in poverty among them.
Policies and programs that seek to address the ongoing struggles of farmers should suit the demands of specific agricultural areas to be effective. Available information can be used to achieve this.
Fortunately, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization's Advocacy Unit Chief Frances Perri, there is no shortage of information on farming.
“There is a lot of information available on the web, but it's scattered,” Perri said in a statement. “We wanted one single access point for all the information out there, for anybody working in this field to use."
What makes it worse is that the information is often hard to use because it is inaccessible.
Addressing this, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) on Tuesday, June 16, launched a new digital platform that aims to bridge the gap between government and farmers.
Family Farming Knowledge Platform paves the way for the enhancement and implementation of stronger policies that support farmers by providing vital information on family farming from all over the world to policymakers and other relevant stakeholders.
Mainly sourced from diverse international organizations, the information includes public programs, national and regional legislations, updated statistics, case studies, and academic research.
The platform also features best practices that other countries can eventually implement to enhance the agricultural situation in their own countries.
As policymakers will only need to go to one platform that provides credible information, this will enable them to develop more effective measures and programs that will enhance the living conditions and livelihood of family farmers.
The world’s food producer
The development of the digital platform was initiated in line with 2014’s International Year of Family Farming which sought to focus on the plight of family farmers across the globe.
“They feed our communities and take care of our earth,” FAO Director-General Jose Graziano de Silva said. “They are crucial allies in the fight against hunger and rural poverty.”
According to FAO, 9 out of 10 farms out of the global estimate of 570 million farms are managed by families – often from a long line of farmers.
Family farmers produce 80% of the world’s food resources, the FAO said, so they are also at the frontline of hunger mitigation. They are also custodians of 75% of all agricultural resources. (READ: Family farmers crucial in fight to eradicate hunger: UN)
As they face the challenge to provide enough sustenance to the population – which is expected to grow to 9.5 billion by 2050 – these producers also face struggles when it comes to poverty. (READ: What projects can end hunger by 2020?)
The plight of family farmers
In the Philippines, family farming is practically an important fixture in ending hunger and malnutrition in several communities in the Philippines. They also tirelessly protect the tradition of rice planting.
However, Filipino farmers are the poorest and also often hounded by food insecurity. Several organizations think this is ironic since the archipelago is an agricultural country. (READ: PH Agriculture: Why is it important?)
Government agencies, for their part, vowed to implement measures to help Filipino farmers. The Department of Agriculture is making climate change considerations in their various plans and projects, including budget. (READ: How is gov’t readying farmers for climate change)
It's high time that support for the sector seen as the “key to breaking cycles of rural poverty” due to their “potential to boost local economies and family incomes” is provided. – Rappler.com