Family farming

Small-scale family farmers feed 70% of the world’s population, and a majority of them are in Asia and Pacific. The United Nations declared 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming to recognize the significant contribution of small-scale farmers in feeding the world. However, farming is almost an endangered profession, with many moving from the country to cities for better work opportunities. The average age of Thai farmers is now 54, 57 for Filipino farmers, and almost 66 for Japanese farmers. Young people don’t want to become low-income and are searching in urban areas for jobs that pay better, require less heavy labour, and are considered more dignified or prestigious. Young people also have less access to land and other forms of capital to invest in productive farming, and may not have skills in advanced agricultural techniques. This again makes working on the land a less attractive option. And even more importantly, the production costs of farming are high... —