Vijverbergsession Family farming and the Dutch Food & Business Knowledge Agenda

Wednesday 11 December 2013

image: © ILEIA

Vijverbergsessies are small, private seminars (maximum 25 participants) in which academics, politicians, and experts of government, ngo’s, and business discuss current issues around the global food problematic. Aim is to come to conclusions that are relevant for policy makers. The seminars are organised by Socires (, on behalf of the foodFIRST platform. The Chatham House Rules apply to the discussions.

In samenwerking met het Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken

[> Verslag op foodFIRST for thought.

Interessante artikelen en links

The link to 2014: UN International Year for Family Farming (IYFF):

Conference "Family farming: A dialogue towards more sustainable and resilient farming in Europe and the world" (Brussels, 29 November 2013)
The conference drew attention to the important role of family farming, the key challenges and priorities for the future, as well as address the best means of supporting family farms.
During the conference, the results of an online consultation on "the role of family farming, key challenges and priorities for the future" were presented.
[ > Read the summary of the outcome of the online consulation

Tijdens de recente European Development Days was er ook aandacht voor small farmers, bijvoorbeeld:

V anuit FAO is in 2012 een interessant document geschreven: The state of food and agriculture 2012. Investing in agriculture for a better future

Het High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition heeft in 2013 het volgende rapport uitgebracht: Investing in smallholder agriculture for food security, June 2013:

Een recent, lijvig document van UNCTAD bouwt voort op eerdere rapporten (IAASTD en het rapport van Olivier de Schutter over agro-ecology and the right to food): Trade and environment review 2013: Wake up before it is too late. Make agriculture truly sustainable now for food security in a changing climate.

WRI rapport op verzoek wereldbank en de VN: Creating a sustainable food future

The Food & Business Knowledge Platform has been initiated by the Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs as one of the five platforms for the spearheads of the Dutch development policy. The platform brings together networks and organizations from the private sector, civil society, sciences, social sciences, education, and policy communities. The aim of the platform is to improve the relevance and efficient use of Dutch, local, and international knowledge and research capacity for food and nutrition security. Improved knowledge management should strengthen policies in the Netherlands and abroad, and reinforce Dutch and local entrepreneurs, traders, and investors in the field of food and nutrition security. Networks from local to global level are invited to participate in the platform to generate knowledge that improves the understanding of how food systems work at a time when the world is facing multiple challenges.

Frans Verberne (director of the Office of the F&B Knowledge Platform) will introduce the ambition, scope, and approach of the Platform. Essentials in the role of the Office are intensifying knowledge and research agenda’s, identifying new knowledge questions, and deepening and linking current knowledge issues.

Family farming and related knowledge questions

One of the major challenges facing the world is how to feed its growing population sustainably and nutritiously. The solution is not simply to increase food production, but to adjust the way that food systems work from farmers to consumers, from the local to the global level. Small-scale farms are at the moment crucial for food production and food security at domestic, regional, and global level. Besides food production, small-scale family farms provide local food and nutrition security, household wellbeing, employment, and biodiversity. The transition of food systems all over the world affects enormously the agricultural sector and farmers especially in developing and emerging economy countries. It is inevitable that processes of up scaling, intensification, specialisation, and globalisation, will appear in many places. Elsewhere, on the other hand, downscaling, extensive farming, multi-functional farming, and localisation will be the reaction on changing circumstances. In this context family farmers have to deal with the threats or build on new opportunities.

Whereas there is no doubt that a diversity of agricultural systems is needed to feed the world, the debate on the future of family farming is not settled. However, it is a reality that family farming will yet prevail for decades in many regions. The knowledge needed for family farmers to continue in one way or another and deal with the changing environment, will be central during this Vijverberg-session.

The meeting offers the occasion to feed the Knowledge Agenda from the perspective of family farming around different questions:

The discussion will be introduced by two speakers who give their view on the future of family farming and on the topics that should be on the Knowledge Agenda:

Moderator and concluding remarks: Paul Engel, Director of ECDPM and chair of the Steering Committee of the Food & Business Knowledge Platform


16.30 Ontvangst
17.00 Opening en welkom door Doeke Faber, voorzitter van de Task Force FoodFirst
17.05 Toelichting over Food & Business Knowledge Platform door Frans Verberne
17.15 Edith van Walsum, Directeur van ILEIA, the Centre for learning on sustainable agriculture
17.30 Stineke Oenema, Programmacoördinator Food and Nutrition Security, ICCO
17.45 Gesprek
18.45 Samenvatting door Frans Verberne
18.55 Aflsuiting door Jos van Gennip, voorzitter FoodFirst Coalition
19.00 Drankjes en lichte snacks


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Available for download: FoodFirst on the Floriade Venlo 2012, the illustrated short report of the foodFIRST conferences in 2012.

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