AFA asserts role of smallholder farmers in vision for regional rice sector 2030
Pattaya, Thailand — In a meeting convened by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Thailand today, the Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA), through its representative Policy Advocacy Officer Ma. Elena Rebagay, emphasized the role of small holder farmers in the vision for the regional rice sector 2030.
The vision is contained in the draft regional rice strategy document, entitled “Rice Strategy for Sustainable Food Security in Asia and the Pacific Region,” which was discussed during the “Consultative Meeting on Rice Strategy for Asia and the Pacific” held in Pattaya, Thailand.
The meeting, which was joined by senior agriculture officers from around 12 countries in Southeast, East Asia and South Asia, hoped to gather comments/inputs to the second draft of the rice strategy paper that will be presented to the 32nd Asia-Pacific Regional Conference in Mongolia.
The second draft presents a vision for the regional rice sector for 2030 as well as several strategic options that hope to provide input to member states in making some adjustments in their existing rice strategies.
The draft vision hopes for “food secure, better nourished and prosperous rice producers and consumers in the Asia Pacific region who benefit equitably from a vibrant, innovative and transformed sector that is more productive, efficient and environmentally sustainable by 2030.”
Rebagay asserted that the smallholder farmers should be at the heart of the vision and that there should be a clear reference to small-scale farmers.
She added that increasing the benefit of rice producers, which include other players along the rice value chain, may not necessarily mean benefit to small-scale rice farmers.
Data show that the small-scale farmers receive the least benefit in the rice value chain compared to the gains going to big millers/processors and traders.
Representatives from Indonesia and Vietnam supported the idea that small-scale rice farmers should be significantly recognized as key players in achieving the vision for the rice sector in the region.
AFA’s participation in the drafting of the rice strategy paper is being pursued at various levels. Aside from participation in the consultative meeting, AFA also provides input to the External Rice Advisory Group (ERAG) through Dr.Yang Saing Koma who was nominated by AFA to the body composed of regional experts in rice from various sectors.
AFA promotes the use of sustainable production technologies and calls for government support for smallholder agriculture.