Via Campesina Presentation at the Farmers Forum – 2012

Roma, February 2012 – Farmers Forum 2012

Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues and fellow peasants

Over the past few years the climate and food crises have pushed peasant food production to the top of the agenda.

The central role of peasant agriculture in terms of job creation, strengthening local economies and protecting natural resources is increasingly recognized. Peasants around the world produce food for over 70% of the global population. At the same time, the majority of the world’s poor are from a rural background.

The majority of investments made in food production are made by the peasants themselves, as the last plenary session of the Committee for Food Security acknowledged in Rome in October 2011. This highlights the importance for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to channel its support towards the peasant sector now more than ever.

We expect IFAD to actively support:

  • programmes looking to develop and strengthen peasant production that is durable and agro-ecological, as a response to the food and climate crisis
  • the reinforcement of government public investment programmes for research and training for peasants and basic services,
  • initiatives and programmes looking to implement the results of the International Conferences on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development 2006, as well as the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the responsible governance of tenure of land, that will soon be finalized at the CFS
  • programmes that look to increase access to land and other productive resources
  • the creation and implementation of an international charter of peasant rights
  • initiatives that look to improve small scale producer’s access to local and national markets.

Peasant organizations play a key role in this process. The direct support provided to peasant organizations, including youth and women’s organizations, by IFAD should also play an important role. La Via Campesina would like IFAD to develop new support mechanisms to address the diversity of peasant organizations and to facilitate the reinforcement of these organizations.

A new suggestion has been put forward but not yet adopted: the creation of a single flexible bureau, to be directly accessible, allowing peasant organizations to obtain support for their training programmes and for the development of sustainable agro-ecological production.

La Via Campesina hopes to have a fruitful exchange with IFAD and hopes that it will render its support of peasants more efficient, as peasants are struggling every day to produce enough to feed their families and the people of their communities and countries.

Thank you.

Alphonsine Nguba

International Coordinating Committee – La Via Campesina

COPACO – Democratic Republic of Congo