The Future of Family Farming
The Future of Family Farming was addressed in a conference on 15 December 2009 in Nieuwspoort, The Hague. ileia - Centre for learning on sustainable agriculture - organised this conference in collaboration with Schuttelaar & Partners. More than 150 professionals from science, government, business, as well as NGOs, students and partners from the South explored what small-scale family farmers have to offer to the world. They also looked at what other stakeholders in agriculture ought to do to give family farmers a fair chance to survive and thrive.
Leading questions of the conference were: What is the future of agriculture, and in particular the future of small-scale family farmers? What is the impact of family farming on food security? How can small-scale farmers mitigate the effects of climate change and how do they adapt?
During the morning, four keynote speakers approached the theme from various angles:
- Camilla Toulmin, economist and director of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in the UK, focused on climate change and agriculture: Copenhagen’s implications for family farming
- K. S. Gopal, executive Director of the Centre for Environment Concerns (CEC), Hyderabad in India explored the strategies followed by family farmers in ensuring food security; how resilience and autonomy are central and determine a possible way forward
- Olufunke Cofie, research scientist at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and Regional Coordinator of the Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF) in Ghana, made a presentation on urban agriculture in Ghana: her focus was on family farming and the food system of Accra
- Edith van Walsum, director of ileia in the Netherlands, reflected on ileia’s experience as a knowledge broker for sustainable agriculture and family farming over the past twenty-five years and looked at the challenges ahead.
The presentations were followed by discussions and three regional workshops, wherein ileia’s African, Latin American and Asian partners of the global AgriCultures Network shared their perspectives and practical experiences. Ileia’s boardmembers Paul Engel, Janice Jiggins and Moussa Badji facilitated these workshops.
The conference was chaired by Bram Huijsman (director Wageningen International). The day ended with the launch of the renewed sustainable agriculture magazine Farming Matters and a celebration of ileia’s 25th anniversary.