World Farmers’ Organisation at UN Climate Summit and Global Alliance Climate-Smart Agriculture

Wednesday, 24 September, 2014 - 00:00

Rome, Italy – Peter Kendall, President of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), joined more than 120 Heads of State and Government at the Climate Summit hosted by the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 23 September to generate political will towards farmers and agriculture within a meaningful universal climate agreement in 2015, and advance action on the ground that will reduce emissions and build resilience to the impacts of climate change for agriculture communities.

“Farmers are on the frontline of the climate change agenda. Farmers are not only directly impacted by climate change, but are also vital in implementing solutions we need to in order to adapt and mitigate.” - said Peter Kendall, president of the World Farmers-s Organisation (WFO), “Farmers, especially women farmers, have daily interaction with the environment. Thus farmers are key drivers in the development of sustainable agricultural practices that provide food and renewable materials to support livelihoods. We must reposition farmers at the centre of the agriculture sector to become more resilient to climate risks.” – stated Kendall.

Leading up to the Climate Summit, on Monday, 22 September, during the high-level meeting ‘Partnerships to Achieve Global Food Security for Post-2015 Development’ WFO president Peter Kendall elaborated on the challenges facing farmers globally as independent actors, rights holders, community-builders, and drivers of food systems – that is beyond being identified as components in supply chains or in economic trade-offs. “Farmers - and I can include myself in this category of labour force - play a crucial role feeding the world’s population. They help maintain viable rural communities and are responsible for protecting the world’s natural resources,” commented Peter Kendall, “Farmers are the primary part of the value chain that bring nutrition to the world population.”

WFO president Peter Kendall said, “It is important to establish agricultural contracts that could offer opportunities for stable revenue through secure market access. This is why WFO recognises the importance of programmes such as the Purchase for Progress (P4P) carried out by the World Food Programme (WFP). Ending hunger is not possible without smallholder farmers. A strong and viable agricultural sector is vital to guarantee a stable and resilient future food supply for a growing population, while ensuring quality employment in rural communities.”

Following the high-level meeting that brought together representatives from UN agencies together with business leaders of the world’s largest food companies, key commodity and input producers, among other global leaders, Peter Kendall WFO president joined experts to speak on behalf of the world’s farmers for a video by the UN Global Compact to introduce the United Nation and Food and Agriculture Business Principles (FABs). WFO president Peter Kendall said, “Farmers are often marginalized in global policy dialogues on agriculture-related matters. The UN could play a significant role to strengthen farmers’ involvement in such political discussions.”

During the Climate Summit’s Ministerial-level Policy Room on Agriculture, WFO president Peter Kendall stated, “Agriculture, climate, food security, and poverty reduction are inextricably linked. Farmers, especially in developing countries, need the support of research centres to become more resilient to adapt to climate change, and to ensure higher crop yields. WFO highly supports the role of extensions and rural advisory services. The WFO farmers’ community is confident that innovation is the basis for development. Without research and innovation, farmers would not be about to produce more yields or higher quality foods, or strengthen future farming involvement of young people and women.”

WFO took part in the Secretary-General’s launch of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture, a multilateral and multi-stakeholder action. Climate-Smart agriculture (CSA) is a set of agricultural practices, polices and research priorities that allows farmers to achieve both adaptation and mitigation benefits. This innovative approach to agriculture has been gaining steam in the international community and will be featured this week.

On Wednesday 24 September, during the Alliance’s inaugural High-level meeting WFO president Peter Kendall said, “The promotion of Climate-Smart Agriculture is one of the pillars of the WFO Policy on Climate Change. WFO supports the UN call to action on Climate-Smart Agriculture, which offers triple wins of increased food production, climate change mitigation, and adaptation. Voluntary schemes to reward farmers for implementing farming practices that foster the sequestration of carbon into soils is just one example of a positive approach needed to further develop efficiency and productivity. Sustainable production of renewable energies (biogas, biomass, biofuels) also contributes to climate mitigation by providing an alternative to fossil fuels and contributing to a shift from an economy based on fossil fuels. An incentive-based approach to climate mitigation and adaptation, as opposed to a penalty-based approach, will have a positive long-term effect on the modernization and sustainability of the agricultural and forestry sectors. This will in turn stimulate economic green growth and rural development, lifting millions of rural people out of poverty.”

Kendall continued by saying, “WFO has the primary objective to develop and propose policies that favour and support farmers’ issues throughout the world. WFO’s success lies in its constituency; a farmer organisation, made by farmers, serving the interests of farmers of all scale, small, medium and large who are able to engage in dialogue and advocate for the conception of policies that create an enabling environment for farmers and their organisations, allowing them to develop and thrive. WFO is keen to provide the last mile to reach farmers' communities and to create a basis for knowledge sharing on climate-smart agriculture.”

In closing Peter Kendall, WFO president stated that the farming world is a big family walking in the same direction to respond to the alimentary needs of the planet in a sustainable manner and in respect with all involved stakeholders. Adaptation to climate change is necessary to sustain crop yields and secure farmer livelihoods across the globe.

The World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) is an international member-based organisation whose mandate is to bring together farmers’ organisations and agricultural cooperatives from all over the world, representing the global community of farmers: small, medium, and large-scale. WFO includes 64 members from about 50 countries in the developed and emerging world.

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