EU Agriculture Ministers’ discussions to focus on future of family farming

10 September 2013, Last updated at, 14:11 EEST
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On September 8–10 during the informal meeting in Vilnius the Ministers of Agriculture will discuss the family farming prospects in the context of globalization. The meeting will provide a solid foundation for the further discussions run by society and farmers‘  organizations in 2014, which the General Assembly of the United Nations declared to be the “International Year of Family Farming“.

“Family farms form the basis of a competitive, sustainable, market-oriented European model of agriculture sector, which meets the society‘s expectations. The development of family farming is certainly the focus of every strong community and the farmers themselves are one of the key players in delivering public goods“, – pointed out the Minister of Agriculture prof. Vigilijus Jukna.
Although the family farming still remains by far the most common model of farming operations in all the EU Member States, the number of farms has been declining over the last decades in most EU countries. This is caused by productivity increases and competitive pressures in agriculture and food sector.
“Unfortunately in a highly competitive and global business environment family farms often encounter difficulties, such as limited access to market, decreasing farmers’ share of value added in the food chain, limited bargaining power, etc. To remain competitive, farms tend to expand and to raise their potential and flexibility but it often negatively affects the family farm values, the local and regional economic development“ tells V. Jukna.
Considering the importance of the family farming model and the major challenges, Minister V. Jukna will invite the EU ministers for broader discussion, how and in which extent policies at EU, national and regional levels can enhance the sustainability of family farms, to create a supportive environment for the development of cooperatives and producer organizations, particularly those uniting family farms. The Minister will encourage the exchange of views on the supportive innovations in family farm, the promotion of local food market, the social importance of family farming traditions, the rural vitality, the activity of communities and local action groups.
The informal meeting of the Ministers of Agriculture traditionally is followed by the best practices examples. The EU ministers will have an opportunity to visit Vaitelis’ organic livestock farm – a nice example of family farming tradition and a modern food processing enterprise “Kėdainių konservų fabrikas” that meets the highest standards of quality.

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