Families and farming

During one of the Slow Food International conferences at Salone del Gusto e Terra Madre last month in Turin, Italy, the strength of family farming and small scale farming was emphasised.

Chaired by Food Tank President, Danielle Nierenberg, the conference observed that more than 500 million small-scale family-run farms produce the food that we eat. And in developing countries, such as Uganda, family farming contributes 80 per cent of the food supply.

It was also pointed out that large-scale food production focuses solely on market needs rather than on protecting our daily food, particularly that of poorer populations.

Family farming was the theme of the 2014 World Food Day, but it happens to be what the majority of our farmers have been involved in for a very long time. The challenge now is to carry it out in a more sustainable way to produce more food for a faster growing population and under hostile climatic conditions.

Work together
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) defines it as family-based agricultural activities linked to several areas of rural development. It refers to agricultural, forestry, fisheries, pastoral and aquaculture production, which is managed and operated by a family and predominantly reliant on family labour.

When family members understand that their food production and welfare depend on their garden, they work together to support farming practices that respect the natural environment. They plant and preserve trees which they need for fuel and which are also important for rain formation as well as soil protection.

Slow Food International which now has a Ugandan Vice-president, Edward Mukiibi, has come up with the initiative to create 10,000 community gardens in Africa. From these, farmers will learn environmentally friendly farming practices and special emphasis will be put on the production of local, traditional, food crops.

“A garden tended by a family, school or community, can guarantee food security, the protection of biodiversity, and the preservation of culture. Supporting small-scale agriculture in Africa can provide poverty-stricken communities with a tool for building their own future,” he told this columnist.

E-mail: ssalimichaelj@gmail.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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