Family farms make approximately 70-80% of the global agricultural land and secure food and living for many families throughout the world, being a very important factor for the economic development. 70-80% of global food is produced in these family farms. More than 90% of these farms are run by individuals or families and are based in the common work of family members.
Where are family farms concentrated in the world?
According to FAO China leads the list. 35% of global family farms are concentrated in China. India is listed second with 24%. The list continues with Asia with 15%, Sahara, Africa with 9%, Europe and Central Asia with 7%, Latin America and Caribbean with 4%, Middle East and North Africa with 3% and the rest of the world with 3%.
Family farms are vital for local economies. They represent a great opportunity for development, especially when combined with specific policies aiming social protection and welfare of the communities.
Albania – family farms 90% of agriculture
In Albania family farms are now revitalized after years of obliged collectivization through the agricultural cooperatives. According to Minister of Agriculture Mr Edmond Panariti, nowadays in Albania more than 90% of agriculture is based in family farms, which have an economic and social dimension. There are two types of family agriculture in Albania, survival production and production aiming the market.
Minister Panariti defined family farms as an important contributor to the securement of food in the country. According to him, these farms are vital for the sustainable use and the equal management of the natural resources and biodiversity. Family farms play an important role in the development of Albanian highland area. Mr. Panariti emphasized that the family farms saved local economies during the crises. “Based on family agriculture, the rural areas have been more resistant to crises, because family farms have better adaptability and continuity in increasing production even during times of crises,” he said. Family farms offer a solution to the problem of unemployment, considered from the government as a possibility to create more employment opportunities and to avoid the movement of the rural population towards the cities. Minister Panariti said that family farms are related to the preservation of the society structure – by securing historic continuity, perseverance and enrichment of the tradition, local identities and cultural heritage. Lastly, he said, family farms play an important role in the political stability of the country, particularly in the rural areas.
The Albanian Government in order to overcome the challenges which are impeding the development of the agricultural sector in the country is approving favourable agricultural policies, in favour of local agricultural production, to preserve the agricultural land and fight against their degradation.
Which are the main problems?
Improvement of the irrigation systems and protection from natural disasters like floods. Encouraging the development of internal capacities to better organize water management and the fertile lands of Albania. Minister Panariti said that having in mind the favourable climatic conditions, water resources and the working spirit of rural families, Albania has a considerable potential, which is why the government will work to exploit effectively this potential, through family farms.
Provisions in favour of Albanian farm development
An important provision is the creation of a direct payment system for the farmers, sectors and regions which have special needs. Minister Panariti said the orientation towards sustainable agriculture is an unquestionable fact and added that one third of the subvention models is connected to the provisions to preserve the environment and biodiversity. The support for the development of qualitative local products, organic products and agritourism is important for family farm development. Provisions for the diversification, modernization, training and transferring of knowledge are crucial for family farms. The empowerment of producing organizations to make entrance to the market easier, providing farmers with the necessary means to help them become big players, ensuring market equilibrium and the necessary income to continue with this model of agriculture are also very important. Minister Panariti added that the government must make sure that these attempts bring change in the agricultural sector as whole. He added that “successful achievement in the ambitions of the government to turn challenges into opportunities, require common efforts for the empowerment of our market, the collaboration and regional integration and expertise from the more developed countries.”
Family farms are crucial to sustainable agricultural production. Agricultural activity circulates approximately 70% of global water, secures biodiversity and produces values for the ecosystem. Family farms are vital to solve the food problem in the world.