The Departments of Agriculture (DA) and Agrarian Reform (DAR) will formally launch the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) in the Philippines on June 26 at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management Auditorium in Visayas Avenue, Quezon City.
With the theme “Ang Family Farming ay Buhay,” the IYFF-Philippines seeks to highlight the importance of farming families in food security and to become a tool to stimulate active policies for development of farming families, indigenous farming families, cooperatives and fishing families.
Agrarian Secretary Virgilio De los Reyes said that the IYFF’s goals are so apt for the DAR because the agency’s agrarian reform beneficiaries are composed of farming families.
“The IYFF is important to [us at] DAR because aside from our mandate of distributing lands to farmers, we are also tasked to provide agrarian justice to oppressed farmer-beneficiaries. We want to be able to help our farmers achieve justice and the IYFF will help pave the way for policies and laws that are pro-farmers,” said De los Reyes.
The DAR and DA invited civil society groups in campaigning for the goals of the IYFF. The groups currently involved are the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD),
Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), Philippine and Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resource in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA and AsiaDHRRA), Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC) and Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA).
According to De los Reyes, the DAR and DA have met several times with these groups to discuss IYFF activities for 2014.
“These civil society groups will greatly help us in drumbeating the issues concerning farming families and small-scale food producers,” added De los Reyes.
The IYFF-2014 was formally declared at the 66th session of the United Nation (UN) General Assembly in 2011 and was launched internationally last November 2013. The IYFF aims to raise the profile of smallholder farming families by focusing world attention on its significant role in alleviating hunger and poverty, providing food security, improving livelihoods, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development in rural areas.
De los Reyes said that prior to the UN declaration it was the Philippine government that proposed to the UN to declare 2014 as the IYFF during the 37th session of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2011.