AFA emphasizes small scale farmers’ role in OECD-ASEAN conference on food security

Bogor, Indonesia – AFA attended the regional conference on policies for food security between OECD and ASEAN held last November 11-12, 2014 at Hotel Salak, Bogor, Indonesia. AFA was represented by its policy advocacy officer, Ms. Lany V. Rebagay. The main objective of the conference was to provide a venue for exchange of policy experiences between OECD, ASEAN countries and international organizations in the region, with a special focus on food security. The conference also hoped to identify knowledge gaps and issues, on which the OECD could make a contribution in the region, and facilitate the exchange with regional partners.

During the conference, the newly endorsed ASEAN Integrated Framework for Food Security-Strategic Plan for Action for Food Security 2015-2020 (AIFS-SPA-FS) was presented. Ms. Rebagay acknowledged the goals of AIFS-SPA-FS which include the improvement of livelihood of small-scale farmers. She further reminded the delegates that small-scale farmers in the ASEAN region have been recognized as one of the key main investors in agriculture and should therefore be considered as key stakeholders in any discussions on food security. She added that ASEAN member states’ efforts like the provision of a multi-quality price policy or differentiated purchase price for quality rice in Indonesia should be implemented to encourage small-scale farmers to continue producing healthy and organic rice which is good both for the consumers and the environment as well.

The differentiated purchase price policy was recently approved based on strong advocacy by CSOs particularly the organized small-scale farmers including AFA’s member Aliansi Petani Indonesia (API) together with other farmers group like Serikat Petani Indonesia (SPI) and WAMTI  composing the Farmers Forum / platform supported by the Medium Term Cooperation Program Phase 2 (MTCP2) funded by IFAD and SDC.

Ms. Rebagay also reiterated the need for support for community-based food reserves system including rice and seed banks as important initiatives to ensure food self-sufficiency and ensure resilience amidst climate change. In addition, the need to encourage young farmers to engage in sustainable farming was also emphasized particularly as one important sustainability factor for ensuring availability of nutritious food for all.

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