Family farms are the foundations on which Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy was built.
That’s the view of European Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Dacian Ciolos, welcoming the launch of the International Year of Family Farming 2014.
Mr Ciolos said family farms continue to stay at the heart of European agriculture as robust generators of competitiveness, growth and jobs and of dynamic and sustainable rural economies:
“Over 95% of the farm holdings in the EU are family farms. With their diversity, they produce at the same time private and public goods.
“They ensure viable food production and also create employment. They preserve rural lifestyle and communities but also natural resources and biodiversity.”
Christian Pees, president of Copa-Cogeca — the umbrella body for European farmers and agricultural co-ops — said it is crucial for farmers and co-operatives to be innovative to secure better market returns.
A former COPA vice president, Lorenzo Ramos said family farms account for a major part of the 25m people employed in the agriculture sector and are a key driver for growth and jobs in EU rural areas.
“But we must ensure that they have a quality of life comparable to other sectors. The sector must be competitive... Investment must be stepped up and research and innovation encouraged,” he told a Brussels conference organised by the European Commission to mark the launch of the Year of Family Farming.
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