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Research National Programs National Family Farm Production Research Program
National Family Farm Production Research Program




Family based production represents 88% of total crop-livestock farms in the region (Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay). This percentage is composed by 5.727.163 family groups (PTR Family agriculture, PROCISUR, 2005) actively participating in food production and managing an important quantity of natural resources. According to studies made by the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (OPYPA, DIEA) based on data from the General Agricultural Census 2000, 74% of total crop-livestock farms in the country are classified as family production units, reaching almost 39.000 farms. Horticulture appears to be the productive sub-sector most clearly identified as family-based, with 88% of the farms. At the same time, animal production systems (beef and sheep, milk, small farm animals) are important, representing more than 70% of family farms. These figures show the relevance of family production in terms of number of farmers and families that base their development on family based crop-livestock production systems.

Moreover, family farmers obtain their earnings mainly from crop-livestock production. The family provides the main part of the labor force and the domestic and productive units are physically integrated. Considering these elements and as a result of INIA's new Strategic Plan, the National Family Farm Production Research Program (FFP) was created in 2006, defined as a program inside the defined Strategic Areas. At the same time, this Research Program acts crosswise interacting with the rest of National Research Programs, directed to the major value chains.

In reference to methodologies, the FFP is based on:

a) the use of a systemic approach for diagnosis and definition of research proposals and,

b) farmers participation in the process of generation and validation of knowledge.

FFP carries out its research activities in all INIA Regional Experiment Stations.


Identified problem areas:


A process to gather information was carried out during 2004 and 2005, pulling together Working Groups on family production and participating in regional meetings (PROCISUR).


The result was the identification of Problem Areas which contributed to the definition of research lines. Briefly, they can be pointed out as follows:

a) Low added value of products coming from family farms.

b) Environmental, economical and social sustainability of family farms.

c) Research and development methodologies not totally appropriate for family farms.

d) Scarce development and acquisition of farm machinery and equipment adapted to family farms .

e) High dependence of family farms to external inputs.

f) Little advantage taken from alternative energy sources.




Contribute, from the scientific research and technological development, to the improvement of social, economical and environmental sustainability of the Uruguayan family farm production systems, the development of the rural areas and the farmers quality of life.




1/ Generate and validate production and processing technologies appropriate

to family farms.

2/ Identify and develop differentiated high-quality products which will contribute to add value to family products.

3/ Contribute to expand the knowledge in family farm production systems aiming to improve the generation-validation-adoption process.

4/ Contribute, in a coordinated manner, to elaborate and implement projects for local development in rural areas.

5/ Contribute to the development of communication networks with family farms aiming to improve technological change and assessment of market demand.




Contact: familyfarm@inia.org.uy