Bangkok, Thailand – AFA, through its policy advocacy officer, Ms.Lany Rebagay took note of the overwhelming recognition of the role and contribution of smallholder farmers/producers and their concerns over the major challenges confronting smallholder farmers/producers in the discussion so far in the two-day (October1-2, 2012) High-Level regional consultation on policies to respond to high food prices being held in Athenee Plaza.
She mentioned that said recognition must be translated into more institutionalized participation of smallholder farmers/producers in various bodies and policy-making/program-designing processes on food and nutrition security.
To this point, she shared AFA’s encouraging experience in the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) supported by G20 through the management of World Bank.
AFA is one of the CSO representatives from Asia in the GAFSP Steering Committee.
Through AFA’s participation in this body, AFA was able to facilitate the uploading and downloading of smallholder farmer/producer feedback on the project proposal submitted by various governments to GAFSP.
In Mongolia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Tajikystan and Krygztan, AFA was able to facilitate a forum among smallholder farmers, CSOs and governments to discuss the proposed GAFSP projects with the end in mind of making it more responsive to the needs and realities of the target rural communities.
Through the forum, AFA was able to link smallholder farmers to governments and supervising entities (e.g. FAO, ADB, etc.) towards building partnership for food and nutrition security initiatives.
With greater access to information and policy-making processes both at the local/national, regional and global processes, farmers are more able to contribute to food security program designing, implementation, monitoring and evaluation leading to higher chances of addressing the bottlenecks confronting smallholder as they endeavor to increase food production.
Encouraged by its positive experiences in GAFSP and other national policy and program engagements, AFA calls on FAO, ADB, IFAD, WFP and national governments to provide institutionalized participation of smallholder in various bodies and decision-processes concerning food and nutrition security such as in AMIS, APTERR, SAARC Food Bank and other proposed council (Seed council).
AFA also supported the recommendation put forward by our CSO colleagues particularly on the access of smallholder farmers to land and other productive resources (water, seeds, energy, credit) as well as increasing the role of smallholder farmers/producers in the food value-chain.
AFA also supported the call to provide more support space for women and young farmer in all policies and programs for food and nutrition security.
Building successor farmers is a critical concern to ensure the sustainability of farming.
More importantly, women farmer are the frontline players in ensuring food security at the household level, thus their significant and meaningful participation should be recognized and supported.