Faces of the International Year of Family Farmers

Faces of the International Year of Family Farmers

The International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) photography contest came to a close in October. The contest, sponsored by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, asked photographers to submit entries based on the theme “Family Farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth.”

Winners were selected by an international jury of farmer-leaders and artists, in collaboration with National Geographic. The selected entries depict individuals and families working to make a living on small, rural farms.

Global Winner

Photographer: Danilo O. Victoriano, Jr., Philippines

Farmers in the Philippines rest after a day of rambutan harvesting.

Many of the country’s 12 million farmers live and work on family farms smaller than ten acres. In 2014, as part of the IYFF, the Philippines’s Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes pledged to build infrastructure to connect rural areas to metropolitan markets, and to invest in technology and extension services to “help farmers achieve social justice.”

1st Prize Asia, Pacific and Oceania

Photographer: Qiuhaiwen, China

A farmer in China feeds his chickens.

China is home to roughly 40 percent of the world’s family farms, according to the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development. The country’s 2014 “Number-One Document,” an annual policy memo issued by the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee, focused on food security for the first time and emphasized changes that reduce environmental pollution and support farmers in rural China.

1st Prize Africa, Jury Choice

Photographer: Edward Echwalu, Uganda

A break during processing. In Uganda women are traditionally responsible for food production, while men market and sell the produce.

The Forum for Sustainable Agriculture in Africa is working to bring food security to the continent’s families. The organization works with local family farmers to diversify and market their products. They have also launched school gardens in five primary schools to educate students and address the daily hunger faced by many students, according to co-founder Dorcas Okello.

1st Prize South America, Public Choice

Photographer Alisson Gontijo, Brazil

A family farmer tends his fields in Brazil.

Brazilian government officials convened in August to discuss the IYFF and to develop pro-smallholder policies in an economy increasingly dominated by industrial agriculture. In 2013 the country launched its National Plan on Agroecology and Organic Production, the first of its kind, specifically to promote sustainable agriculture and family farming.

1st Prize North America, Public Choice

Photographer: Jennifer Rose, United States

Considering the soil.

According the the U.S. Census Bureau 98 percent of American farmers are family farmers, but many run large-scale industrial farming operations unlike the family farms in less-developed countries, according to the USDA. To commemorate the IYFF, the U.S. Senate introduced a resolution in September to “recognize the important contribution of family farming in food security and eradicating poverty around the world.”

1st Prize Europe, Public Choice

Photographer: Martina Thayler, Italy

Shucking corn in Italy.

In October, Rome hosted the Global Dialogue on Family Farming, the culmination of a year of advocacy for the world’s family farmers. FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva stressed that governing bodies need to consider small family farms as “transmitters of knowledge and central allies in providing healthier diets,” according to the U.N. News Centre