Small farmers in Romania: Who will feed us in 2050? And how 2030 will look like?

Stakeholders relevant to small farmers and small foods’ business gather recently in Bucharest for a participatory foresight workshop aimed at helping them distil for small farmers’ contribution to Food and Nutritional Security by the 2030 and 2050 time horizons. Twenty food system actors – small farmers, entrepreneurs, researchers, policy makers, and advisors – were invited to be a part of this exercise, as a direct activity in the Horizon 2020 project, (Small Farm, Small Food and Sustainable Food Security) project implemented in Romania by Highclere Consulting SRL.

‘Over 60% of all the EU small farmers under 5ha are in Romania – 3.5 million, according to the 2015 statistics. To look into the future to see what role they can in the 2030 or 2050 agriculture shows how much organization and advocacy is needed to rise their representativeness in the political arena, and also to adapt the existing mechanism to their real needs’, said Irina Toma, Policy Expert at Highclere Consulting.

The foresight workshop helped participants to realize that the decisions we take today will be the consequences that future generations of farmers and consumers will have to deal with. ‘In this context, one of the main vulnerabilities mentioned by one of the participants was the current disconnect between the voices and needs of small farmers from and the policies and practices implemented by ministries’, stressed Raluca Barbu, Policy Expert at Highclere Consulting.

A second point raised was that of evaluating the results of previous Farmer Advisory Systems (FAS) in Romania, in order to formulate a new and well thought-of proposal about how these could be organized in the upcoming CAP programming period. The members of the SF cooperative who were present at the meeting mentioned that any legislation or policies affecting their activity should be formulated in understandable terms for the general population, adapted to the specific needs and means of communication for the targeted audiences, with more emphasis on clear and focused interpretation.

More vulnerabilities, but also strengths of small farmers and small business were identified and debated, and a complete report on this work will be published on Highclere Consulting website in the following weeks. 

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Irina Toma, Highclere Consulting 

SALSA 2020 is a Horizon 2020 research project that develops a better understanding of the contribution of small farms and small food businesses to a secure and nutritious food supply, focusing on Europe and parts of Africa, but also aims to strengthen the voice of small farms and small food businesses in the global debate on food security. For more on this, point to