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APNFS Position Paper WFD 2014

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The Asia Pacific Network for Food Sovereignty (APNFS) joins the global population of farmers, fisherfolks and other communitiesof diverse people in remembering October 16 as World Food
Day which this year recognizes the full potential of family farming as a flourishing cultural heritage in achieving global food security. 

The theme of World Food Day 2014-“Family Farming- Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth” is a  strong pronouncement to promote and protect family farmers who constitute over 500 million and have the significant role in feeding the world in the most efficient way while maintain the ecological balance of land and resources. The achievement of family farms throughout the generations has even proven its worth in the midst of intensifying hunger, malnutrition, poverty and inequality that arebeing compounded with factors such as climate change risks and environmental degradation.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stressed that family farming that is being operated and managed by a family, is an approach of organizing agricultural, forestry, fisheries, pastoral and aquaculture production that is predominantly reliant on family labour with significant involvement of both women and men.

The APNFS agreeswith FAO that family farming is inextricably linked to national and global food security because as traditionally practised, family farmers carefully manage their lands with innovative land management techniques to sustain remarkably high levels of productivity despite having limited access to resources. Family farmers also act as custodians of food products while contributing to a balanced diet and safeguarding the world’s agro-biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources. Human civilization can testify that family farmers have achievedtheir superiority by maintainingthis agricultural heritage in many successful ways. 

The world has witnessed this through the paddy farmers and fishers of Mekong River, a transboundary river from China to Southeast Asia that is one of the world’s most diverse fisheries; through the thriving small fishing villages of Bangladesh which boast of successful climate change adaption initiatives in fishing while protecting the Sundarbans, the world‘s largest single block of mangrove forest; and through the varied organic farming technologies based on science and local knowledge of farmer communities in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Sri Lanka. 

Family farmers work on 85 percent of farming land in Asia.In this case, family farms remain the main source of rice production in this region. The traditional rice-fish systems and modern adaptations of these systems result to increased yields of rice along with fish production. 
To strengthen this heritage at the national level, family farmers need to have wider access to land and natural resources, technology and extension services including specialized education and finance. Policy interventions that support sustainability of family farmers must be established. [View Full Position Papaer]

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