To make agricultural investments more inclusive, farmers’ organization should be engaged to ensure the bargaining power of the smallholder producers.
This was one of the main points emphasized by AFA in a recent roundtable discussion organized by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) last February 28, 2013 in London.
In the meeting entitled “Making agricultural investments more inclusive: building a framework for action,” AFA Policy Advocacy Officer Lany Rebagay said that small-scale farmers could have greater bargaining power if they deal with investors on a collective approach rather than on individual basis
AFA joined the first panel to articulate the perspective of small-scale women and men farmers on important elements that a prospective investor should include in their community engagement and on concerns related to embedding inclusiveness in contracts specifically on important elements that should be included in an investment contract that will ensure inclusion of smallholder producers.
AFA participates in side event on women in agriculture
The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) met for its 39th session last October 15-20, 2012 in Rome, Italy. During this meeting, the member governments endorsed the first version of the Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition (GSF) and approved the terms of reference (TOR) for an inclusive consultation process within CFS to develop and ensure broad ownership of principles for responsible agricultural investments or RAI. The Civil Society Mechanism for CFS ( CSM) actively engaged in the discussions during the entire meeting. AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia participated in some meetings and in a side event on the role of women in agriculture organized by the World Farmers Organization.
The member governments of CFS noted that the GSF will “provide an over-aching framework and a single reference document with practical guidance on core recommendations for food security and nutrition strategies, policies and actions validated by the wide ownership, participation and consultation afforded by the CFS.”
The CSM found positive aspects in the GSF document, especially its reference to the right to food, to smallholder farmers, agriculture and food workers, artisanal fisherfolk, pastoralists, indigenous people and the landless, women and youth, and recognition of agro-ecology, among others. Since the GSF is not a legally binding document, the challenge is for national governments to promote and make use of the GSF when formulating strategies, policies and programmes on food security, nutrition, agriculture, fisheries and forests.
In the approved TOR for RAI, the tentative schedule of the consultation process for the set of principles on RAI starts in November 2012, with the final version scheduled to be approved during the CFS Plenary meeting in 2014. Regional multi-stakeholder consultations, e- consultations and consultations within existing regional meetings/fora is tentatively scheduled in 2013. While small farmers and their organizations are categorized under private and public investors, separate from CSO, the TOR nevertheless states that the consultation process should be open and include all stakeholders, and that adequate participation of CSOs and the private sector (of all sizes) should be ensured.
During the side event entitled “Role of Women in Agriculture,” Ms. Penunia delivered the following intervention: “A woman farmer produces food. She cooks and puts food on the family dining table. She also markets her family’s farm produce. She takes care of the health of the family. She is the first teacher of her children. She gives birth. For a woman farmer, these roles are interrelated, interconnected. Thus if we want to ensure food security and nutrition, and want to reduce hunger and poverty in the world, we have to respond to the needs of the woman farmer down at the household level so that she can perform effectively and efficiently her many roles as a woman farmer.”