29th FAORAP Conference
CIVIL SOCIETY JOINT STATEMENT
March 30, 2009
(Presented during the Ministerial meeting segment, March 30, 2009 , by Ms. Esther Penunia, AFA Secretary General.)
Distinguished ministers and officers of the ministries of agriculture, forestry, fisheries in the Asia Pacific Region, Director General Jacques Diof, and officers of FAO RAP, good afternoon to all.
We, organizations seating in this row , representatives from farmers’ organisations, indigenous peoples, women, agricultural workers, fisher folks, people’s movements and civil society organizations, from Asia-Pacific countries, would like to thank the Royal Kingdom of Thailand and the Thai people, for their gracious hospitality. We would like to thank the FAO for allowing us to make a statement before you all.
We are faced with three global, interrelated, interconnected crises : food crisis, financial crisis and global warming or climate change. The hardest hit are the poor, especially small scale women and men farmers, agricultural workers, fishers, and indigenous peoples.
We agree that the potentials of agriculture can be unlocked and harnessed , but not the “business as usual” , industrial, chemical –intensive agriculture, that we know of now .
We believe that key strategic response to the triple issues of food crisis, climate change and financial crisis is: (1) massive support and promotion of sustainable, integrated, diversified, organic/ecological friendly agriculture and agro based industries which are owned , controlled and managed by organizations of small scale men and women farmers, fishers and indigenous peoples, and massively supported by government policies and programs, at local, national and international levels.
The key element of sustainable agriculture is smallholders’ access and control over , and wise and efficient use of, natural production resources such as land, water, seas, and seeds. It means access to marketing resources such as credit, capital, technology, infrastructure, post harvest facilities, food processing facilities, market information and analysis.
In so doing, we ask that government budgetary allocation, public and private investments, technical assistance, credit, financing, markets ,post harvest facilities, research and documentation, extension and capacity building, demonstration farms , knowledge learning activities, incentives and policies – all these be in support for sustainable agriculture and agro-industry, by small holders and entrepreneurs, as smallholders produce majority of the region’s food.
Mr. Chairman, We have issued a statement that summarizes our principles and our requests to FAO and member states .Allow us to present concrete, policy recommendations as follows:
• Immediately halt and reverse all forms of water privatisation
• Shift and increase investments and budgetary allocations to rainfed agriculture and ecologically sustainable agriculture by smallholders
• Promote public-community partnerships that acknowledge, utilise and support indigenous knowledge and practices in water conservation and management, and involve communities–especially women–in the financing, management, delivery and governance of water.
• Implement progressive and comprehensive agrarian reform and ensure implementation of ICARRD agreements, with particular attention to land rights for women..
• promote traditional crop/seed varieties developed by farmers through ages in coping with agro-ecological stresses and impacts of climate change, such as drought, floods and salinity.
• Compel agribusiness corporations to pay for the costs of mitigating the negative impacts arising from their operations through legally enforced regulations, penalties and fines.
On Aid for Trade
• De-link aid-for-trade from the WTO Doha Round of negotiations.
• It should be given without conditionalities and not create debt in recipient countries
• The money should be new and additional to already existing and pledged ODA.
• Recipient countries should determine their priorities based on the development needs of small-scale food providers and enterprises through participatory and transparent processes.
• Include gender disaggregated data and statistics
• As well as data and statistics that show the roles, contributions and value of smallholders in meeting food needs
• Distinguish clearly between genetically engineered and genetically modified (GM) crops and traditional biotechnologies when using the term “biotechnology”
• Include monitoring reports on public investments for small-scale food producers and entrepreneurs as well as investments by foreign countries in agricultural production.
On ensuring the relevance of FAO RAP:
• Ensure that deliberations and technical programmes are contextually relevant to critical concurrent conditions
• Maximize the effectiveness of existing sub-regional intergovernmental platforms such as ASEAN, SAARC and PIF by providing technical support and resources
• Immediately operationalise sub-regional food reserves (as in SAARC and ASEAN) as humanitarian rather than trade-driven initiatives
• Proactively engage in the structure and mechanisms of the Global Partnership for Agriculture Food Security and Nutrition (GPAFSN) to ensure equal decision making power for aid/finance receiving countries
• Reinstate the Gender Unit with sufficient human and financial resources.
We appreciate the space provided for civil society participants in the 29th APRC, Still, we note serious limitations in the ability of small scale food providers to participate in such meetings. We call on FAO and its member states to:
• Create a permanent mechanism to facilitate the meaningful participation of smallholder agricultural producers, workers and enterprises that will guarantee that their interests are adequately represented at such fora and in accompanying processes.
• Encourage and facilitate the participation of CSOs in on-going and future FAO related programs on capacity building, research, extension, etc.
We are committed to working together to make our governments and the FAO responsive to the needs of the poor and marginalised.
Let us not rest until everyone has food, in a secure and stable manner. Let us not rest until we have achieved a sustainable agro-based development in our countries where smallholders and agri workers are able to feed their families and the world,, get good health and education, and responsibly contribute to the earth’s sustenance
Thank you for your attention.
We are —
Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA)
Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Asia (AsiaDHRRA)
East Asia Rice Working Group (EARWG)
Focus on Global South
Pesticide Action Network for Asia and Pacific (PAN-AP)
Philippine NGO Coalition for Food Security and Fair Trade (PNLC Philippines)
South East Asian Council for Food Security and Fair Trade (SEACON)
Third World Network
Rural Development Working Group