Advocating for Family Farmers : 2020 Year-in-Review

Advocating for Family Farmers : 2020 Year-in-Review

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As 2020 draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on what seems like a pivotal year. It’s a new decade, and we are facing challenges new and old. The COVID-19 crisis took over the agenda this year, changing how we work, live, and interact with each other. However, old challenges did not take a backseat during this crisis. Food security, nutrition, gender-based violence, early marriage, education, and other issues remained a priority even during the COVID-19 crisis.

As the year ends, it’s a good time to look back on policies and activities from this year – an important year in advocating for family farmers and food security. Here are some highlights from 2020, the second year in the UN Decade of Family Farming.


Farm Radio International celebrated World Radio Day, Feb. 13, by celebrating the diversity of our radio network. We have more than 1,000 radio partners across Africa. The Lorna Young Foundation launched their Farmers’ Voice Radio initiative, which includes training materials available on a new website.

The FAO Africa Regional Conference was planned for this month, but ultimately was delayed. In advance of the meeting, civil society organizations released a statement of policy, peace, and post-harvest loss.


Farm Radio International celebrated International Women’s Day by awarding the Liz Hughes Award for Her Farm Radio to Uganda Community Green Radio for their excellent women’s show and effort addressing gender equality on the radio.


As the COVID-19 crisis takes over headlines, many organizations respond. Farm Radio launched several new services, Fondation Hirondelle and others supported local media, and many organizations released communication materials.


FAO, IFAD, PAFO, ROPPA and others participated in a webinar called “Challenges and Opportunities for Smallholder / Family Farmers in Africa during and post COVID-19.”

FAO released a handbook for running field schools in times of COVID-19.

Radio Soleil de Pala, in Chad, won a reporting prize on World Biodiversity Day.


The Voice for Family Farmers campaign launched the week of July 27. A package of materials was sent to more than 3,000 radio broadcasters across Africa. A launch event featured Robert Guei, sub-regional coordinator, West Africa, FAO, as well as representatives from PAFO, La Via Campesina, and FRI.


ROPPA and six West African organizations released a report on West African women facing COVID-19. It highlights seven realities and seven solutions proposed to support women during this time of crisis.


On Oct. 1, peasant organizations in the Democratic Republic of Congo marched in support of family farming. They submitted a memorandum to the government, which, amongst other items, suggested a high-level representative in charge of family farming.

Rural women in Senegal gathered for two days to mark the International Day of Rural Women and World Food Day (Oct. 15 -16) by reflecting on the current crisis and the status of women. They released two statements addressing the role of women in their societies and economics and the plan to make zero hunger in 2030 possible.

On Oct. 16, the International Day of Action for Peoples’ Food Sovereignty and Against Transnational Corporations, La Via Campesina advocated that it’s time to transform (#TimetoTransform) societies with food sovereignty and peasant agroecology.

The Voice for Family Farmers campaign wrapped up on World Food Day, Oct. 16. In total, more than 100 radio stations across Africa broadcast messages about the UN Decade of Family Farmers and the importance of small-scale farmers.


FAO collects information on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on family farmers and small-scale producers with a global questionnaire.

YenKasa Africa initiative offered introductory training on communication for development to its partners and farmers’ organizations.


YenKasa Africa launches a community of practice so that practitioners can support each other in communication for development. To join, send an email to [email protected]

La Via Campesina launches their agroecology series. Watch the first episode.

Farmers in West Africa organized a women’s virtual march to save local milk in West Africa, where they feel they are losing market share to powdered milk.

PAFO has released a continental study on impact of COVID-19 on African farmers. It calls for more support for farmers, ensuring their security during the pandemic, as well as promotion of agro-industrialization to increase resilience of family farmers.

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