For two days, around 70 experts and government representatives from across Europe and Central Asia will meet in Budapest to focus their attention on improving the situation of smallholders and family farms.
FAO is working hard to address this issue, which greatly affects the whole region; the Budapest workshop is another step in this process.
As a result of political and economic structural changes in the 1990s, Europe and Central Asia today is largely a region of smallholders and family farms, with only a few countries dominated by large-scale corporate holdings.
“Family farming, although being the backbone of agriculture in the region, is often not economically viable,” said Morten Hartvigsen, FAO regional initiative delivery manager. “The rural population remains the most poor and vulnerable part of society. In fact, more than 60 percent of the poor in Europe and Central Asia live in rural areas.”
Still, rural farmers can be a key resource in achieving sustainable economic, social, and environmental development, Hartvigsen added. This idea is reflected in the Zero Hunger Sustainable Development Goal, in which one specific target is to double by 2030 the agricultural productivity and income of small-scale food producers.
Among the participants of the meeting in Budapest will be representatives of ministries of agriculture, labour, and social protection from several countries in the region, along with donors and representatives from relevant civil society organizations and international organizations. FAO technical experts and representatives from FAO country offices also will attend.
Participants’ goals include getting a deeper understanding of family farming and learning from each other through country presentations and discussions.
FAO has conducted country studies and prepared a regional synthesis report on the needs and constraints of smallholders and family farms in seven countries: Albania, Armenia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, and Tajikistan. The results of this report will be presented and validated at the meeting.
Another purpose of the workshop is to look into the future in light of the UN Decade of Family Farming 2019-28. FAO continues to work on responding not only to country needs but also to enhance its support to smallholders and family farms in the region, always striving for more coherence and a stronger impact.