Published February 26th, 2012
The following was read by Ms. Rachel Kalaba, a representativeof young farmers in Zambia, during IFAD Governing Council meeting on February 22, 2012.
Synthesis of Deliberations of the Fourth Global Meeting of the Farmers’ Forum
in Conjunction with the 35th Session of IFAD’s Governing Council
Rome, 20-21 February 2012
1. We the participants in the the 4th global meeting of the Farmers’ Forum, representing millions of small- and medium- scale family farmers, pastoralists and artisanal fishers (including rural youth), reiterate our appreciation of the Farmers’ Forum process and its contribution to bringing the voice of smallholder farmers into the country strategies and programs of IFAD. There are encouraging achievements in the coverage and diversity of our partnerships in country programmes. There is considerable potential to build upon and improve what has been achieved. Yet a lot more needs to be done. This is of utmost urgency, given the challenges that we face.
2. Demands on agriculture are ever increasing. Natural resources – land, seeds, water, fisheries,pastures – are being depleted and contaminated, while competition for these resources is becoming ever more fierce. A serious threat to the future of agriculture is that young people face great hardship in building a dignified life in the rural areas. More often than not, they are given no viable alternative, but to abandon their villages and migrate to cities or abroad.
3. 500 million smallholder and family farms produce four fifths of the food consumed in the developing world. Sustainable smallholder and family agriculture is, therefore, the foundation of food security, poverty reduction and sustainable management of natural resources.