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Diversity of Farmily Farming Around the World

Diversity of Family Farming Around the World

On 29 May 2019, the FAO inaugurated the decade of family farming. It aims to shed light on what it means to be a family farmer in a rapidly changing world. At the same time, a collective book co-published by Springer and Quae: “Diversity of Family Farming Around the World: Existence, Transformations and Possible Futures of Family Farms” reviews a vast amount of research conducted on the subject.

Updated on 06/21/2019
Published on 06/21/2019

This book aims at explaining the nature and strength of the links between the families and their farms looking at their diversity throughout the world. To do so, it documents family farming diversity by using the sustainable rural livelihood (SRL) framework exploring their ability to adapt and transform to changing environments. In 18 case studies in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe, it shows how family farms resist under adverse conditions, seize new opportunities and permanently transform. Family farms, far from being backwards are potential solutions to face the current challenges and shape a new future for agriculture taking advantage of their local knowledge and capacity to cope with external constraints. Many co-authors of the book have both an empirical and theoretical experience of family farming in developed and developing countries and their related institutions. They specify «what makes and means family» in family farming and the diversity of their expertise draws a wide and original picture of this resilient way of farming throughout the world.

Editors: Bosc, P.-M., Sourisseau, J.-M., Bonnal, P., Gasselin, P., Valette, E., Bélières, J.-F.

Further information: https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789402416169

This English volume is the translation of the original French edition published by Quæ in 2014: Diversité des agricultures familiales. Exister, se transformer, devenir


Case study in Argentina

Territorialized family-run farm enterprises (TFFEs) in the Pampean region are rooted in history, that of the chacareros who succeeded in capitalizing themselves by acquiring land or agricultural equipment (and by transforming themselves into ‘farmers’). They retain or inherit a certain number of characteristics from this trajectory which makes them close to elements of the family farming model and keeps them away
from the corporate farming model. Nevertheless, they have integrated the approach of the new financialized and intensive agricultural systems, and adopted some of their practices, especially in terms of organization of labour, knowledge and forms of management. As a result, they are not entirely distant from the corporate farming model.

It is above all their strong territorial anchorage which distinguishes them from corporate farming. As a result, the TFFEs are strategic actors for the maintenance and development of rural areas, recognized and visible in local economic and political life. Corporate farms, in contrast, are the great ‘invisibles’ in rural Pampean territories. Only the keen observer will be able to distinguish their presence, perhaps by spotting a logo on a van going through the village. The main paradox is that these TFFEs no longer enjoy a national representation and are not differentiated from corporate farming in the policy domain. They do not have their own organization and therefore tend to be likened to entrepreneurs who are members of Aapresid, not only by researchers and policymakers but also by the public at large.

This observation raises new issues for the research community, especially the need to interpret this ‘silence’ in the national political sphere. Has the dialogue of modernization, driven by the dominant corporate agriculture actors, prevented the expression of a more nuanced viewpoint that could have represented these family enterprises? Or is this ‘silence’ a strategy of these very same family enterprises?

(Pierre Gasselin, co-author)