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.
We call upon IFAD to:
1. Establish, together with other development partners (such as the European Commission and bilateral donors), a dedicated grant window, within its grant programme, to provide direct and inclusive support to the organizations representing small scale rural producers, family farmers, pastoralists and artisanal fishers (FOs).
2. Direct country teams to systematically and actively engage the participation of FOs in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Country Strategic Opportunities Program (COSOPs)), programs and projects. FOs have capacities and expertise to carry out diverse roles. IFAD should support initiatives for the creation and the strengthening of existing spaces for dialogue between FOs and governments at regional levels.
3. Institutionalise the participation of FOs in the Monitoring & Evaluation systems so that they can influence projects and have access to key information. Develop indicators to assess impact of IFAD support extended to FOs from the grassroots levels up to the national level.
4. Strengthen knowledge management and support FOs capacity for knowledge management to enhance their organizational and professional capacity for better service provision and income generation. Identify good practices carried out by family farmers and their organizations and increase investments (finance, technology, capacity building) in their up-scaling and replication.
5. Support the implementation of the voluntary guidelines on responsible governance of land tenure and fisheries and the voluntary guidelines on small scale fisheries, at national level and facilitate FO participation in these processes.
6. Support FO engagement with Rio+20 processes by providing information on events and financial support for participation and the organizing of side-events. Similarly support FOs engagement and activities to maximize the opportunities to promote smallholder agriculture and family farming around and during the 2014 International Year of Family Farming.
7. Hold a special session on small scale fisheries during the next global meeting of the Farmers’ Forum to promote understanding of their role in food security and increase the recognition and visibility of their sector before policy makers.
8. In the years of the global meeting of the Farmers’ Forum, when the Synthesis of Deliberations is submitted for information to the IFAD Executive Board, invite FO representatives as resource persons. Their participation shall enrich the IFAD Executive Board Informal Seminars when policies and decisions of interest to FOs are discussed.
We Call Upon Governments to:
1. Recognize the importance of smallholder and family farming by mainstreaming it in the entire policy and programming framework of the country, including its integration in the educational system.
2. Increase and uphold public investments in smallholder agriculture – with special focus on women and youth – to develop their entrepreneurial capacities and create viable livelihoods in the rural areas. Develop policies and programs to provide smallholder farmers and landless with secure access to land, long-term finance, markets and vocational and entrepreneurial training.
3. Implement favourable policies on trade and agriculture to safeguard smallholders from the risks of world market dynamics. Urge all governments to propose a dialogue and a concrete action plan with FOs in every country as part of the preparatory activities for the International Year on Family Farming.
4. Recognize FOs as legitimate stakeholders and economic actors. Put in place or strengthen existing mechanisms for their representation in the development and evaluation of policies and programs to enhance accountability and ensure that these benefit smallholder farmers, especially women and youth.
5. Adopt and implement the voluntary guidelines on responsible governance of land tenure and fisheries and the voluntary guidelines on small scale fisheries.
6. In the context of RIO+20, recognize that sustainable development must be centered on the development of smallholder family agriculture, by and with rural women, men and youth, fishers, herders.
We Call Upon our Organisations to:
1. Commit ourselves to work together, in solidarity and mutual trust, to promote our common agenda and reinforce our influence at all levels. Immediate global opportunities to do so are the RIO+20 Summit and the International Year of Family Farming.
2. Build our organizations as strong and credible institutions capable of influencing our governments and other stakeholders, supported by evidence-based research, studies and knowledge.
3. Enhance our institutional capacity, with participatory monitoring and evaluation systems, to assess and report on our impact and effectiveness to our members and partners.
4. Create space for young women and men and ensure their representation in leadership and decision making and foster intergenerational dialogue and knowledge sharing. Support them build their own organizations. We will strive to develop models that will enhance the image of farming and inspire young people to become active forces in the development of our rural worlds.
5. Establish a quota of at least 30% of young farmer representatives (half of them women) for the next global meeting of the Farmers’ Forum in consultation with organisations representing youth famers . Most importantly, youth should be represented in the Forum Steering Committee.
The Youth Forum that brought together, here in Rome, our young women and men in agriculture has generated great enthusiasm for their potential to contribute to new and better rural realities in a developing world. Their declaration provides concrete recommendations to all development actors and shall be made available in its entirety.