As farmers and ranchers look for strategies to increase production to feed a growing world population, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and Food Tank suggest the best way to nourish the world is through increased production from family farms.

FAO predicts the world population will increase by 34 percent to reach 9.1 billion by 2050. In preparation for 2014, the International Year of the Family Farming, an organization focused on finding sustainable agricultural solutions and FAO are highlighting ways to provide family farmers the tools they need to really nourish the world.

Groups say focus on family farming to feed a growing worldIn a release by the two organizations, Food Tank co-founder Danielle Nierenberg says family farming plays an important role in improving nutrition. Family farming can enhance soil health, protect water supplies, improve nutrition, and increase incomes.

FAO and Food Tank focus on five ways to support family farming globally. Those five strategies include:

Promote sustainable agriculture methods
In an analysis of 40 projects and programs, sustainable techniques like agroforestry and soil conservation increase yields for African smallholder farmers.

Assist family farmers in adapting to climate change and short-term climate variability
In sub-Saharan Africa, Farmer Field Schools teach farmers to mitigate climate change by managing inputs such as pesticides more effectively while increasing yields and incomes.

Promote policies to provide smallholders with legal titles to their land
Landesa works with countries to implement land rights programs, and helped 100 million farmers obtain or secure ownership over their land.

Increase access to local markets
Farmers markets can provide a great venue for family farmers to sell their products directly to consumers.

Close the gender gap
Closing the gender gap in agriculture could lift 100–150 million people out of hunger.

If public and private sectors direct funding toward family farmers, smallholder agriculture can get the push it needs to nourish both people and the planet.

Barbara Gemmill-Herren, Program Officer at FAO, says the organizations' strategies will build on existing knowledge of sustainable agriculture to improve resilience in the food system.