The 5th Global Farmers’ Forum Calls for the Promotion of Organic Agriculture
Over 90 farmers' leaders, representing millions of smallholders and rural producers from all over the world attended the Farmers’ Forum 2014 (Rome, 17-20 February) calling on governments for more effective policies and support for smallholders. They requested the greater promotion of agroecology and organic agriculture and the strengthening of farmers’ control over their production, especially their seeds and indigenous species of livestock and fish.
The Farmers Forum is an on-going dialogue between small farmers’ and rural producers’ organizations, IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) and governments, focused on agricultural and rural development and poverty reduction. The Forum meets every two years for a global consultation in Rome, in conjunction with IFAD's Governing Council.
IFOAM was represented by a broad delegation consisting of Andre Leu (IFOAM President), representatives from INOFO, our farmers’ constituency, Moises Quispe (INOFO President and ANPE Executive Director), Ashish Gupta (OFAI, India), Musa K. Muwanga (Nogamu, Uganda) and Anton Pinschof (INOFO Secretary and Fenab, France) and Cristina Grandi (IFOAM Chief Food Security Campaigner).
During the plenaries Moises Quispe, speaking on behalf of INOFO members from 5 continents, illustrated the actions organic farmers’ organizations undertake to secure the future of family farming namely working with youth, women and value chains for healthy systems. He also mentioned the role organic farming can play in mitigating climate change. He asked IFAD to make a strong commitment to directly supporting organic farming organizations without depending on governments. Ashish Gupta highlighted the difficulties at national level for pushing a sustainable model given that governments often subsidize pesticides and fertilizers. He also asked for a much more support for Participatory Guarantee Systems. Anton Pinschoff dew attention to land grabbing in East European countries.
As Andre Leu, President of IFOAM pointed out “this year was outstanding in that it is a tipping point for agriculture. In this International Year of Family Farming, farmers’ leaders from every arable continent have clearly stated that the focus must be on the vast majority of the worlds farmers, small holder family farms rather than large scale agribusiness. This is because these family farmers, comprising of one third of the worlds population, over 2 billion people, produce 70% of the world’s food. Most importantly, this should be done through organic agro-ecological methods, participatory systems and farmer empowerment, with an emphasis on women and youth.”
Mr Quispe added, “a paradigm shift is needed in order to prioritize local markets, so that non-toxic, fresh, healthy and affordable food gets to where the majority of the world's hungry live - in rural areas.”
This year’s event was also unique in that it was the first time that all farmers’ representatives have unanimously acknowledged the importance of organic agriculture. This is expressed in the final statement of the Forum that can be found here.