Grupul Roman pentru Investitii si Consultanta (RGIC) held Thursday, October 16, 2014 the debate "Family Farm - key element in ensuring food security and sustainable development of rural areas", an event that aimed to address the role and place of the family farm in the context of contemporary society. 

The debate is also part of the broader events devoted to this subject in 2014, declared "International Year of the Family Farm!" by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and it was attended by important personalities from academic and education in Romania as well as prominent representatives of some major agricultural associations. 

The moderator, Mrs. Otilia Manta, President/CEO of RGIC, read in the opening act of the debate the message of Mr. Vladimir Rakhmanin, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia to the audience of this event. Interventions of participants emphasized the place of family farms that should occupy in contemporary society. There were also discussed specific aspects faced by romanian farmers today. Finally, it have been centralized a number of ideas and specific proposals on the situation of family farms in Romania that will be submitted for consultation to the Ministry of Agriculture. Related to the situation of family farm, Mrs. Otilia Manta says: "With the accession of Romania to the EU in 2007, our company actively militated for the development and integration of small farms. In this respect, our major involvement consists in drafting and filing of over 15,000 projects for semisubsistence farms. Their conversion to family farms is a challenge for us all. Through direct involvement that we have on this issue, we believe that during 2014 - 2020, the romanin family farm will be incorporated in the common european market through measures targeting solutions like consultancy services, technical assistance, environment-friendly technologies, innovation and microfinance ". 
Role and Place of family farms in the contemporary society 
Message of 
Vladimir Rakhmanin, 
FAO Assistant Director-General 
and Regional Representative 
for Europe and Central Asia 

Ladies and gentlemen, 
Due to my other duties, which relates to the World Food Day, unfortunately I cannot be present at this event today, but let me share a few thoughts with you. 

A few months ago, Romania hosted the extremely successful FAO Regional Conference for Europe, where it was concluded that the future of agriculture and food security in Europe and Central Asia falls largely on the shoulders of family farmers. Family farmers are the cornerstone of world food security and hold the key to a sustainable and hunger-free future. 

In Europe family farmers manage 63 percent of all farmland and guard the agro-biodiversity of soils, water, forests and fish stocks—resources that future generations will need in order to survive. Despite the differences among the countries in Europe, there are issues that are common to all of us, and this includes the challenges of strengthening sustainable family farming and small-scale production. 

Celebrating the International Year of Family Farming, Romania is part of a growing international movement to recognize the economic, environmental and cultural value of family farms. 

Today’s forum provides an opportunity to tackle the challenges that Romanian family farmers face every day. Romania has already taken clear and concrete steps to support its estimated 700,000 smallholders. But there is always more to be done: 
• Supporting and invigorating smallholder agriculture requires a comprehensive platform of policy and development initiatives that are tailored to the unique and diverse needs of family farmers. 
• To preserve the long-standing tradition of family farming, favourable policy and regulatory environments are needed. 
• Improving access to land, water, markets and credit – as well as standardizing land use and property laws – creates a sound foundation for productivity, solid ground on which farmers can and will invest in the future of their farms. 
• Public investment in rural infrastructure, public services, training and education can give smallholders the help they need to be competitive in an increasingly globalized marketplace. 
• And empowering women and young people to participate in agriculture will guarantee the long-term viability of family farming. 

I believe that the benefits of such a rural development agenda will be evident here in Romania, and today’s event will also contribute to making a step forward in this process. 

Today, when we celebrate World Food Day, FAO release its annual report on “The State of Food and Agriculture”, which examine the topic of innovation in family farming – a most promising avenue towards the objective of a well-nourished, food-secure world. 

FAO, and in particular our Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, looks forward to continued close cooperation with Romania. 

Let me finally wish you a successful and fruitful discussion for today. 

Thank you all for your kind attention.