What is Family Farming?


Family farming is defined as a means of organizing agricultural, forestry, fisheries, pastoral and aquaculture production which is managed and operated by a family and predominantly reliant on non-wage family labour, including both men’s and women’s. Family farmers produce most of the food consumed in developing nations and use over 80% of the land in Asia and Africa.

Globally family farming is one of the most predominant forms of agriculture, both in developing and in developed nations. Worldwide 1.5 billion people are estimated to be involved in family farming. There are approximately 500 million small family farms across the developed and developing world, of which 280 million are in China and India alone. Family and small-scale farming are inextricably linked to world food security.

Family farming sector comprises a wide spectrum of farm sizes and types ranging from very large holdings in high- income economies that are easily by one or two family members with the use of labour-saving machinery and hired labour to the small holdings of a few hectares or less in low-income economies.

At national level, there are a number of factors that are key for successful development of family farming, such as: agro-ecological conditions and territorial characteristics; policy environment; access to markets; access to land and natural resources; access to technology and extension services; access to finance; demographic, economic and socio-cultural conditions; and availability of specialized education, among others. Family farming has an important socio-economic, environmental and cultural role