2014: Year of family farming
The United Nations has launched the 2014 International Year of Family Farming in New York to stress the vast potential family farmers have to eradicate hunger and preserve natural resources. It was attended by UN officials, ambassadors to the UN, government ministers and civil society leaders, who would serve as special ambassadors for the year.
Over 70 per cent of the food-insecure population lives in the rural areas of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Near-East. They are family farmers, especially smallholders, with poor access to natural resources, policies and technologies. The world boasts more than 500 million small family farms, some 80 per cent of agriculture ownership at large.
Evidence shows that poor family farmers can quickly deploy their productivity potential when appropriate policies are effectively put in place.
The International Year aims to raise the profile of family and smallholder farming by focusing world attention on its role in alleviating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas.
Helping Egypt’s dairy, agriculture and aquaculture
The European Union and the French Development Agency (AFD) signed an Umbrella Agreement with Egypt yesterday, worth 52.3 million Euros to improve access to finance for agricultural SMEs and strengthen the dairy and marine aquaculture sectors.
The ‘Support to Agricultural SMEs’ (SASME) project will support the Egyptian authorities in their efforts to create job opportunities and foster income generation in rural areas and develop the agricultural sector. It will improve access to finance for farmers and agricultural SMEs and provide them with technical and financing assistance to develop their marketing capacities and improve their access to financial instruments.
No violence against women
The Cairo office of the United Nations has launched the message of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Ms Ngcuka’s message focused on violence against women and girls as a human rights violation. “It is violence against families, communities, nations and humanity. It is a threat to international peace and security, as recognised by the UN Security Council. It has reached a crisis point and demands action from all of us, young and old, women and men.
“We must stand up, speak out and be part of creating solutions to end these human rights violations.
“Today an estimated one in three women will be subject to violence in her lifetime. One in three girls will be married as a child bride before the age of 18. Approximately 125 million girls and women in the world have suffered female genital mutilation. Trafficking ensnares millions of women and girls in modern-day slavery. Rape is a rampant tactic in warfare. And femicide, the murder of women because they are women, is taking an increasingly brutal toll.
“This violence knows no borders and affects women and girls of all ages, all income levels, all races, and all faiths and cultures.”
Ms Ngcuka called on world leaders to show determination and mount a response that is proportionate to the violence threatening the lives of women and girls. “To be effective, prevention must address its root cause: gender inequality. We need education in schools that teaches human rights and mutual respect, and that inspires young people to be leaders for equality. We need equal economic opportunities and access to justice for women. We need women’s voices to be heard. We need more women politicians, police and peacekeepers.”
8 December 2013