Family Farming for Food Security: Balika Poudel

Author: Balika Poudel
Bsc Ag Scholar


A country is remarked as food secure when all the individuals have access to sufficient  nutritious food to live a quality life at all times. Food security focuses the availability and accessibility of food to the people for sound life. The concept of food security is based on four pillars: availability, accessibility, utilization and stability of food system. These pillars are influenced by many factors. Since COVID 19  outbreak our country is going through tough times. This unprecedented situation has seriously hampered major sectors  like health, economy, food system, etc of the nation.


This pandemic has compelled everyone of us to think about serious concern i.e.  food security. However, family farming has played key role to uplift the food security in Nepal. This has been in practice since ages in Nepal . It has been estimated that about 80% of the world’s food is obtained from the family farms. Family farms occupies around 70-80% of farm land globally. Likewise family farms hold remarkable role in providing required food to the people in our country too. The term family farming holds multiple definitions.

The common key elements of definitions include ownership and the management of the farm carried out by the family members. Various criteria and parameters are to be applied to identify the family farmers. Farm management by the family members, their involvement  in total labor force and farm size are looked upon for the family farming. Among the diverse definition FAO has explained family farming as “a means of organizing agricultural, forestry, fisheries, pastoral and aquaculture production which is managed and operated by a family and predominantly reliant on family labor, including both women’s and men’s.

The family and the farm are linked , co-evolve and combine economic, environmental, social and cultural functions.” It has considered both the social and economic dimension of the family. It has emphasized the importance of family farming. The family farms are the key actors in availability of diverse and nutritious food of the global food production system. The family farms ensures the small scale sustainable agriculture production. Their multifunctional feature allows them to act comprehensively on different important aspects of the sustainable development paving the way to food security.

Although they have less access to the agricultural inputs like quality seeds, fertilizers, etc the family farmers manage to provide high level of productivity. They have diverse production in small land holdings. They are able to provide diverse baskets which compliments the food system of the country. Because of pandemic, whole food system is affected and has caused disruption in providing sufficient ,affordable and nutritious food to the global population. Here the family farming has made somewhat easier to cope up with the this situation.

In spite of movement restrictions and transportation limitations, the family farms have  made food available to many parts of the locality. The problem of labour didn’t affect the production as most of the labour forces included family members. Local and indigenous knowledge are also a basis of family farming which have promoted the cultivation of local landraces and rearing of local breeds thus combating the problem of food insecurity. The output of family farms are considerable in terms of use of land and other inputs.

The farms work on sustainable way providing food in stable manner. The status of family farming can be enhanced with the implementation of advanced agricultural practices which will be the plus point in feeding the world. The family farms have the capacity to provide fresh and nutritious food in its region if the access to market are improved. It leads to the territorial development. The family farms creates rural-urban linkages and synergies through brief food supply chain which provides solution to the food waste and loss.


  Recognizing the immense potentials of family farms, ‘The International Year of Family Farming-2014’ was facilitated by FAO in collaboration with governments, international development agencies, farmer’s organizations and non-governmental organization. So raising awareness globally was essential about the family farming and was has been started from this year on as International Year of Family Farming. The potential productivity of family farming has been  emphasized which in turn has improved status of food security.

Comment on "Family Farming for Food Security: Balika Poudel"

  1. Binita Wosti

    Wow! informative

  2. Bhairab raj kaini

    Good article. Keep it up

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