Mobilize investments and provide sufficient direct financing to forest and farm producer organizations (FFPOs), so they can keep family farming alive.
This was the main recommendation by FFPOs who participated in an international web consultation on “Multi-dimensional Resilience : Smallholder Producers and Farmers Managing Risks,” held last June 9-11.
Esther Penunia, Secretary General of Asian Farmers Association (AFA), member of the Steering Committee of ComDev Asia (CDA), presented the recommendations on June 11, the last day of the conference . The recommendations were drawn from regional web consultations last June 9, participated by 78 participants from 74 FFPOs from 24 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.
The international conference was jointly organized by Food and Forest Development Finland, AgriCord and Forest and Farm Facility (a partnership between FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), International Institute for Environment and Development, International Union for Conservation of Nature, and AgriCord), and regional FFPOs Pan-African Farmers’ Organization and AFA. It was made possible through the generous funding from the European Union, International Fund for Agricultural Development, and FAO.
Smallholder family farmers suffer from decreased incomes, increased indebtedness, decreased food security, displacement and loss of lives and property as a result of COVID-19 restrictions and climate change. Family farmers through their FFPOs provide solutions to ease the negative impact to their members.
“FFPOs are key actors to strengthen resilience of smallholder producers,” says Duncan Mcqueen, of the International Institute for Economic Development (IIED), one of the co organizers of the web consultation. “Through their members, FFPOs provide 70% of the world’s food, using only 25% of the global agricultural inputs, providing US$.08-1.5Trillion annually,” he added.
Ms. Penunia stressed that participants recommended the re-building of the local and global food systems on three fronts.
On the production front, the participants asked the international community to help them keep farming alive to promote and transition to climate resilient practices in farms and forests. Ms. Penunia said that the participants called for the following: recognition of the rights of family farmers to natural resources such as lands, waters, and forests; timely support for farm production; scaling up of investments in advisory, extension and innovation on climate resilient practices; and focusing on science, research and technology lead by farmers and which builds on traditional knowledge. Farmer-led researches will result in the collaboration of researchers and farmers in designing and implementing research and in combining research with local knowledge for dissemination.
On the marketing front, the participants recommended direct financing to FFPOs to support their stronger involvement in shorter food chains as well as in supply chains and in diverse value chains; fairer markets that promote climate resilient systems and provide decent incomes to family farmers, including the women and youth; development of appropriate financial instruments such as payment for ecosystem services that recognizes multi-functionality of agriculture and forestry as well as targeted incentive schemes for climate resilient practices in farms and forests.
On the governance front, the participants called governments and the international community to regard FFPOs as equal partners, and directly engage them in decision making. This could be done by establishing institutional mechanisms for participation and including them in the formulation and implementation of a national agenda for COVID-19 and climate action. Adequate resources need to be provided for their meaningful participation, as well as for the FFPO constituents to exchange information, give feedback on national, sub-national, and global climate and crisis management agenda, create and strengthen networks, and engage in activities.
Learn more about the conference here: https://www.ffd.fi/ajankohtaista/web-conference-multidimensional-resilience-smallholder-producers-managing-risks-4-5-2020
The author wishes to thank Ms. Esther Penunia for her contributions to this article.