————- End. (Words: 1,385) Dubbed”the world’s cutest sheep”, the ValaisanBlacknose sheep are bred in Valais region where they are adored for their”black hole” faces, shaggy coats and spiral horns. This unique breed is fashionablelivestock farming in Europe. On a family farm in Scotland, the farmer said: “Ithink they are the world’s cutest sheep.
“Family Farming in the mountains is deeply rooted in Valaisanculture and has more recently adopted means of self-help in exchange offeringlodging to travelers. In a barter exchange of visitors’ services to the farmer- a helping hand in farming activities or herding livestock, the visitor wouldearn overnight stays in traditional Swiss chalet. The farmer thus saves onlabor cost and the visitor is happy making a saving on cost of lodging. Locatedin the eastern French speaking region of Valais, in Nendaz – orchards and vineyardsare small, family run businesses. The Country of Bisses (a system of irrigationchannels) and nearby valleys are world renowned for delicious grapes, apricots,strawberries and raspberries.
Lessons can be learnt from Switzerland Family Farming on aself-help basis since time immemorial. In Valais – the French and German speaking mountainous Southwestregion of Switzerland, most of the mountain farming at a varyinghigh altitude with extremely patchy landscape, thus limits use of modernfarming methods. Family Farm is the only option to an efficient and effectivemethod of farming, ensuring house hold security. Self Help Family Farming The unrest in the Swat Valleys in Pakistan not only had thetourism crashing nose dive but also shattered the once prosperous family runtrout farms in Madyan and Kalam valleys – valued at around Rs.
44 million. Thelocal family farms had lost all hopes however, withsupport from the ProvincialReconstruction, Rehabilitation and Settlement Authority (PRRSA) and Early Recovery of Agriculture and Livelihood Program (ERALP)supported by the Italian government (February 2010); trout farms produced about184 tons trout (2013) and according to reports, Swat valleys has now some 22trout farms. Revivalof Family (Trout) Farms in Swat valley, Pakistan. The Neelum-JhelumValleys Community Development Project has set up an example by plantingnearly 12,000 hectares that resulted in an improved crop yields and doublingthe average household income of the project’s participants. The project’s mainobjectives were to promote environmental conservation and communityparticipation in resource development in response to deforestation, erosion,and overgrazing. Micro Finance: Since the 1990’s, smallfarmers with no land and also people with no capital had the possibility ofacquiring small loans through Punjab Rural Support Program’s (PRSP) Micro-Credit Scheme, aimed at improveliving condition of people living below the poverty line.
Micro Finance helpedsmall Farmers to access techniques to yield sufficient production and purchaseof better quality seeds and fertilizers. Research studies indicate that MicroFinancing has substantially increased agricultural production and cropproductivity. The International Fund of Agricultural Developmentoperation, Southern Punjab Poverty Alleviation Project, is working to benefitan estimated 8.6 million rural residents in several districts of Pakistan and thereare proposed projects in the pipeline that will support small farmers inPakistan. “The project can assist casual laborers without landholdings,smallholder farmers, and independent woman-headed households in increasingtheir incomes by supporting agricultural productivity and production, and byincreasing the overall employment potential of this targeted population”. Forthe success of family Farming in Pakistan, it is essential that donors likeAgha Khan Rural Support Program, Agriculture Development Bank, non-profit organizations,and governments focus their attention on family farmers and invest in programsand infrastructure essential to production growth.Pakistan hosts some 3.
8 million small family farms constituting about 43.4% of total farm area, with landholdings measuring less than twohectares. The country that show anestimated 17 million people food-insecure and according to the WorldBank, 27 per cent of the rural population of Pakistan live under the nationalrural poverty line; there is anurgent need to support Family Farming and development of infrastructure. -Creatingalternative sources of income for smallholder farmers-Promotingresearch and advice on new technologies adapted to the needs of smallholdersand family farms-Improvingstorage and processing of agricultural products to reduce postharvest losses-Ensuring betteraccess for women and young people to means of production-Improvingaccess to services, particularly for women small farmers, to realize theiruntapped potential-Strengtheningfarmers’ organizations to enable them to offer their members better servicesand to voice their concerns more effectively in the political arena-Securing accessto natural resources such as land and water-Establishing aregulatory international framework that supports smallholder farming (includingseed regulations and international trade rules) TheSDC’s activities are focused on the following areas: -Usingseeds to guarantee food security and preserve biodiversity-Multifaceted support-More rice with less waste-Microcredit:a way to ensure access to water and to generate revenues-Increasing the revenue of rural households-Plantclinics and doctors to reduce crop losses-Changingcourse in global agriculture: Nourish our People – Nurture our Planet-Irrigation forfamily farms Someof the projects, as follows, show the SDC’s work to support smallholders andfamily farms in developing countries: Tomark the IYFF – national committees are being set up. These are composed ofagriculture and development cooperation representatives, one such committeewith an observer status is the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC),which has been established in Switzerland. The SDC helps smallholdersand family farms to adapt to change and to boost production in a sustainableway.
Family Farming or Family Agriculture comprises women (almosthalf of agriculture labour-force), and men farmers, gatherers, landless peasants,indigenous people, artisan fishers (some 357 million people depend directly onsmall-scale fisheries, employs over 90% of the World’s fishing catch) andpastoralists (cover about 25% of the earth’s terrestrial surface and supports20 million households) – involved in agricultural, forestry, aquaculture,fisheries and pastoral production whichis managed in smallhold areas under 10 hectare and operated by a family andprimarily dependent on non-wage family labor and responsible for everything –from production to farm maintenance. The family and the farm are “linked,co-evolve and combine economic, environmental, reproductive, social andcultural functions”. According to OseAntonio Osaba Garcia – coordinator of the IYFF, “We have pushed for this yearto honor family farmers. So the year (2014) is centered on dialogue in favor offamily farming as the real model for sustainable agriculture.” While industrial agriculture practices tend to be extremely resource-intensiveand can damage the environment (70 per cent of global water use goes tofarming, and soil is being eroded between 10 and 40 times faster than it’sbeing replenished); family farms feeds the world andyet produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than industrial farms.
Themain objective of the IYFF is to raise the profile of smallholders and familyfarms by focusing world attention on their role in alleviating hunger andpoverty and improving conditions for smallholders and family farms. Supporting the success of family farms will result in increased incomesof family farmers and thus a significant rise in overall living standard. According to a research study from Oxfam, investingin small farmers also creates a ‘multiplier’ effect that extends beyond thefarming sector — farmers spend a big share of their income in other sectors,including construction, infrastructure, and manufacturing.
To further enhance support the culture of FamilyFarming, the United Nations declare 2014 the International Year of FamilyFarming (IYFF). About 40% of World Households depend on Family farming and70% of World Food Supply is produced by family farmers. So, out of the 3,000 million rural people in developing countries, 2,500belong to families engaged in Family Farming.Walkingalong the terraced fields in the Northern areas of Pakistan, mostly women folkcan be seen farming – with their children playing around; I had littleunderstanding and had thought they are employed in the industrial agriculturalpractice.
I was actually looking at smallholderfarmers, well aware of their landscapes and local climates, and with endurablesupport, they help to transform the food system using sustainable methods thatcan boost productivity or just self sufficient in their need for daily foodconsumption. Today, these small farmers are better informed to use traditionalknowledge and techniques to rely less on scarce natural resources.