Family farming is the most common type of farming around the world. Far from being backward, it adapts and responds to changes in the environment. The Barometer dedicated to family farmers by Iles de Paix, SOS-Faim and Autre Terre  analyzes  the current issues that shape and transform them.


For the large majority of farmers operating in a detrimental environment, new farming strategies are occupying the international political arena: they are promoting new technologies and digitalisation to boost farming and feed the world. Are electronic and digital solutions the “be all” for farmers to surmount their many challenges?

These new strategies also place the accent on youth and entrepreneurship to create a dynamic  environment for the development of farming. Through these lenses and concrete policies that flow from them, it is a certain vision of the world, farming and sustainability that can become reality.

In addition to these international priorities, new scientific and citizenship concerns are emerging and are beginning to gain consensus. They propose changes in diets and place more emphasis on the food on our plates in order to make food systems more sustainable. For planet earth only, or also for farmers? Are these concerns able to transform eating habits around the world?

The world is becoming more urban, with more than one out of two people living in a city, and the importance of smaller towns is often overshadowed by large cities. Yet, these smaller towns hold 20 % of the world’s population and provide a perfect opportunity for the development of regional food systems that give a greater place to family farms.

Almost one-third of the world’s population is active in the farming sector, and a large majority lives in the South working on small-scale family farms. Trying to learn about the realities of family farmers means opening one’s eyes to the livelihoods of a large part of humanity, understanding what connects the workers of the soil to our plates, and giving importance to the most essential link that unites human beings to the environment: our food.

The Family Farming Barometer is pressing pause and placing the focus on these issues. Its objective is not to create a new set of quantitative data on family farming, but to understand and analyse the issues confronting farming, and respond to them. This is important: this type of farming is facing many challenges, that is certain, but it also proposes solutions for the farming of the future, one that is respectful of human beings and nature. Far from being on its last leg, it is an inherent part of a truly sustainable development.

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