Importance of communication in family farming stressed in FAO seminar

Importance of communication in family farming stressed in FAO seminar

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently hosted a technical seminar on Rural Communication Services (RCS) and Inclusive Innovation Approaches for Family Farming on 29 April 2024. The hybrid seminar was held at the Ethiopia Room at the FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy, and was attended by a diverse group of participants worldwide through Zoom and livestreaming

As part of the ongoing implementation of the United Nations Decade of Family Farming 2019-28 (UNDFF) global initiative, which has reached its halfway point, the seminar served as an avenue for knowledge-sharing and collaboration amongst committed community members. It also highlighted the importance of communication for family farming, propelling family farmers to make transformative changes aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Attendees also had the opportunity to learn more about FAO-supported Communication for Development (ComDev) initiatives related to RCS and family farming.  Esteemed individuals from different ComDev initiatives gave talks on RCS perspectives and innovation approaches taken in pursuit of fostering family farming policies and programs within their organization. 

The morning session focused on tackling RCS perspectives, trends, and initiatives, and how different FAO-supported ComDev initiatives such as ComDev Asia and YenKasa Africa made strides in promoting RCS in family farming policies and initiatives. Maria Stella Tirol, Dean of the University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Development Communication (UPLB-CDC) presented a roadmap of ComDev Asia’s activities and follow-up actions, highlighting RCS work and advancing RCS initiatives in the next half of the decade.

The afternoon session tackled different uses of inclusive innovation approaches to family farming.  Sarah Cardey from the University of Reading emphasized the need for a transdisciplinary approach to addressing rural communities’ complex issues. Apart from that, Cardey underscored the need for innovations that put a premium on dynamic communication in supporting farmer-led change in communities.  Rikin Gandhi from Digital Green presented participatory video as one of the tools they use for knowledge-sharing in family farming. The participatory nature inspired fellow farmers to consider adopting new collaborative practices they could apply themselves.  Rural radio, AI chatbots, and farmer field schools (FFS), among others, are other innovative approaches used by different communities to promote a participatory approach to family farming communities worldwide.

The seminar ended with circling back to emphasizing the large role RCS plays in the midpoint of the UNDFF, as ongoing RCS initiatives offer spaces for knowledge-sharing, capacity development, and technical assistance to family farmers worldwide. Furthermore, the presentation of a roadmap of priorities and follow-up actions in advancing RCS work sets the tone for the next half of the UNDFF global initiative.

Read more about the UNDFF global action plan through this publication.

Article contributed by Darelle Anne Ebron, ComDev Asia Intern.


FAO. (2024, April 29). FAO hosts technical seminar on RCS and inclusive innovation approaches for family farming | E-Agriculture. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 


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