Family farming plays a key role in the new Sustainable Development agenda that is committed to sustainable and integral development that takes into account people and the planet.

Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), a large part is linked to family farming and the rural environment. Very directly, there are several goals that underline the need to end poverty and hunger, ensure food security and improve nutrition by promoting sustainable agriculture.

But at the same time there is an interrelationship with objectives where family farming plays a very important role, and which have to do -among others- with gender equality and women’s empowerment, water availability and its sustainable management, access to energy, sustainable consumption and production systems, addressing climate change and promoting sustainable use of ecosystems, health or education. Cooperatives enhance their role within the framework of the 2030 development agenda, with values such as democracy, equality, and access to different resources.

SDG 2: End hunger

This addresses food, how it is cultivated, produced, consumed, exchanged, transported, stored and marketed, highlighting the fundamental connection between people and the planet, and the pathway to sustainable food security for humanity.

SDG 1: End poverty

Family farming has a central role as it requires the consolidation of efforts in the rural community that particularly supports the most important stakeholders in the process: family farmers (including small-scale fishers and pastoralists), improving local production capacity and access to food, in addition to establishing social protection systems.

SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women

The strengthening of women’s status and their rights in family farming, guaranteeing equal access to productive resources, credit facilities, assurance, training and rural extension are essential to the success of this goal.

SDGs 6 and 7: Ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation and access to affordable, reliable, sustainable modern energy for all

Agriculture is the largest consumer of water (70% of water abstractions) and requires a substantial amount of energy for its full development. The IYFF 2014 confirmed the effectiveness of family farming in sustainable food production and this must be reflected in the policies that underpin this type of production.

SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
SDG 15: Promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

If there is adequate investment in the improvement of rural infrastructures, including communications, transport, energy storage, waste efficiency and waste recycling throughout the value chain etc., family farming will have a leading role in the reduction of the high levels of post-harvest losses and food waste.

SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Harmonious territorial development is inextricably dependent on the improvement of the permanent rural-urban interrelations that exist because of food systems and many other social and economic aspects.

SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Accordingly, it is necessary to offer appropriate and sustainable technologies to enhance the capacity for adaptation, mitigation and resilience in family farming.

SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Small-scale fisheries, which fall under the umbrella term of family farming, account for half of all global fish catches.

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The collaboration of family farmers in cooperatives (or similar figures) is a key tool for poverty alleviation and for progress towards basic rights that have to do with food, health, participation, social protection or equality and non-discrimination.

Agricultural cooperatives also play a very important role in the economic and social empowerment of women and young people, as well as people and groups in situations of greater vulnerability. Their role in the generation of sustainable rural employment is essential for the generation of resilient communities.