At the opening session of the fourth meeting of the Farmers Forum 2012 on February 20 in Rome, the Asian Famers' Association (AFA), a steering committee member of the forum, asked the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to partner with farmers organisations in upscaling and mainstreaming sustainable agriculture.
AFA, the regional alliance of national federations and organisations of small scale women and men farmers and producers in Asia, lobbies for a strong and influential voice of small scale (young, men and women) farmers in Asia. In the opening statement read by Secretary General Ma. Estrella Penunia, AFA informed IFAD of the victories of small farmers and producers since the last Farmers Forum (FAFO) in 2010.
These successes include the UN declaration of 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming, implementation of the Medium Term Cooperation Program in the Asia Pacific, implementation of the Global Agriculture for Food Security Program with the participation of farmers' organisations, and organisation of the Civil Society Mechanism for the UN Committee on Food Security also with farmers' organisations participation.
Ms. Penunia also pointed out challenges such as the Rio+20's non-inclusion of small scale farmers and producers and the silence on sustainable, agro ecological, smallholder family farmer agriculture; lack of clear decision on climate financing for adaptation in the UNFCC meeting in Durban; and lack of operationalization and involvement of farmers' organisations in the ASEAN and SAARC framework on food security and climate change.
Thus, AFA called on IFAD to partner directly with farmers' organisations in involving more women and youth in agriculture; in participating in dialogues with governments at all levels; in efforts at knowledge management; and in truly involving farmers' organisations in IFAD's governance processes.