Int’l year of family farming soft launch

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april 7 2014 iyff picture 1The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recently held the soft launching of the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) at the DAR-central office gymnasium.

Invited as keynote speaker, was Ma. Estrella Penunia-Banzuela, the IYFF special ambassador for Asia and the Pacific Region.

According to Banzuela, the IYFF, which was launched on November 22, 2013 by the United Nations and the Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO) in New York, aims to highlight the importance of farming families in food security and in protecting our environment.

“Here in the Philippines, we will celebrate IYFF this year by recognizing that family farmers are the leading figures in responding to the urgency the world and our country faces today: providing food security and preserving our natural resources through natural farming,” Banzuela said.

april 7 2014 iyff picture 2“Contrary to what everyone thinks, it is not the big corporate farms that feed the world. It’s these farming families which consist of the father, the mother and their children who work together in their small farms that provide for our food daily,” Banzuela added.

According to studies made by the UN and FAO, 80 percent of the harvests produced by big corporate farms are transformed into feeds for animals such as cows, sheep, pigs, etc; which they supply to big corporate animal farms.

Only 20 percent are produced for human consumption and these are provided to us by small farmer holders or farming families.

“Although only 20 percent are produced for humans, family farms represent up to 80 percent of all farm holdings,” Banzuela said.

In her speech, Banzuela also stressed the importance of women farmers in mitigating hunger and food production.

“The women folk in every farming family are the ones that take care of her family and at the same time does her share of work in the farm. But she has needs too. Governments can empower women farmers by creating policies that are unbiased and sustainable for their welfare,” Banzuela said.

“Together, let us use this International Year to reposition family farming as a central tool for sustainable development.”

The IYFF soft launch coincided with the women’s month celebration of DAR. (admin p.a.m.r.s)