Family farming

What is it?

Family farming includes farms managed by a family and which depend mainly on unpaid family labour. With more than 500 million family farms in the world, it remains the main form of agriculture in both the North and the South.

Family farming has a huge potential to jointly address the three major global challenges of our time: producing enough food and ensuring a decent life for all, while respecting natural resources and biodiversity.

Family Farming in Figures

  • 500 million family farms in the world, the majority in the South
  • Family farms account for nearly 80% of agricultural production in Africa and Asia and 70% in Latin America
  • Out of 12 million European agricultural enterprises, 97% are classified as family farms
  • Family farms account for 98% of food production in sub-Saharan Africa and almost all cotton, cocoa and coffee production
  • Family farming is the world’s largest employment sector, accounting for 40% of the world’s workforce.

According to the FAO, of the 570 million farms in the world, more than 90% are managed by an individual or a family. Visit to find out more about the global food and agriculture situation.

To learn more about family farming, visit the educational platform of our member SOS Faim:

Its Place In The World

Family farming has been recognised internationally as an effective, sustainable and environmentally friendly solution to hunger and food insecurity. The World Bank has declared 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming and 2019-2028 as the Decade of Family Farming. Its recognition by the highest institutions in this field is a great step forward
in raising global awareness on the importance of family farming, agroecology and food sovereignty.

A multitude of initiatives, supported by public officials, technical and financial partners, have
been taken in agriculture in previous years, allowing:

→ a diversity of farming systems

→ a diversity of food systems

This should allow for a peasant movement, i.e. a model built on a strong sense of unity and solidarity that allows these communities to develop their autonomy of decision making in their own farms in the name of food sovereignty.