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Information
  • Published on: 31 Oct 2011
  • Submitted by: Major Group: Farmers

World Farmers Organisation
Rio +20 Summit

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, a high level session will be convened ?to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assessing the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges.? ? General Assembly resolution.
The focus of the Conference includes:
 a green economy in the context of poverty eradication and sustainable development
 and the institutional framework for sustainable development.
The implementation gap on sustainable development commitments is the primary point of discussion for the Earth Summit. The green economy should be part of the means to implement overarching sustainable development commitments made at the original Earth Summit and in Johannesburg.

We believe the Summit could further policy coherence on food security, drawing on the CSD-17 findings and the work of the High Level Task Force on Food Security.

Role of Farmers
Farmers represent one-third of the world‟s population and one-half of its poor. As the planet‟s primary ecosystem managers, farmers‟ activity depends on a sound environment. They are best placed to ensure sustainable development thereby contributing to a green economy. Farmers provide multiple goods and services to society, such as production of food, non-food products such as renewable energies, delivery of ecosystem services and land stewardship to protect and enhance biodiversity. They also play a key role for rural development and rural employment. Thus, the farming sector contributes to economic growth and to reducing poverty and hunger in developing countries, while still being an important part of the economy in industrialised countries.
Farmers are at the core of the green economy as there are significant synergies between poverty alleviation and sustainable farming. Farmers‟ organizations want to be a key partner in all levels of discussion.

What are the primary goals for Agriculture in the Context of the Green Economy?

1) Produce more with less by finding ways to meet global requirements for food while minimizing the need to encroach forests, jungles, and other eco-systems and maximising the efficiency of production.
2) To use a knowledge-based approach of best practices that sustains production and minimizes the negative impacts of farming activities on the environment.
3) Develop new approaches to reward farmers for adopting practices decisions that protect and/or enhance the provision of goods and services from functioning ecosystems that also foster sustainability and address poverty by enabling smallholder farmers to break the subsistence cycle.
4) Reduce poverty since farmers represent one half of the world‟s poor and despite high profile promises, woefully few resources have truly begun to flow to help farmers break the poverty cycle.

Key Policy Items for Elaboration
1) Produce more with less by finding ways to meet global requirements for food while minimizing the need to encroach forests, jungles and other eco-systems and maximising the efficiency of production.
 foster investments in infrastructures at the national level in order to create food value chains and to reduce yield losses during storage and transportation
 access to microfinance services, especially to microcredit
 focus on productivity gains and improve the efficiency of agriculture, with the ultimate goal of reducing the conversion of natural areas to agricultural uses
 secure, managed, efficient access to water and responsible use thereof
 manage watersheds and water use more efficiently
 promotion and knowledge-sharing of new farming practices such as for example conservation agriculture, that can be used to prevent soil erosion and land degradation
 research into farming systems, to find new ways to improve the sustainable productivity of agriculture
 plan and manage protected areas together with local farmer, pastoralist and forest communities
 encourage integration of trees, shrubs, grasses and other landscape elements into agricultural production systems
 create on-farm refuge areas for pollinators and biodiversity conservation

2) To use a knowledge-based approach of best practices that sustain production and minimize the negative impacts of farming activities on the environment
 train farmers to adopt sustainable practices
 increase public research on agricultural innovation and nutrition
 promote private agricultural R&D through grants and tax credits, including R&D supported by farm groups and co-operatives
 build upon the indigenous knowledge on conservation and resource management that farmers already possess
 include animal welfare as an integral element of best practices
 promote best practices such as manure management, integrated crop management, integrated pest management, and nutrient management
 provide access to scalable information technologies for farmers, including women and young farmers, to receive weather, crop, and market information/alerts, as well as other early warning systems to help them make the right decisions for sustainability and productivity
 establish open and transparent two-way exchanges that capture the ?voice of the farmer‟ in the process of policy formulation and implementation
 access to technologies and techniques to improve farm productivity and reduce the footprint of agriculture

3) Develop new approaches to reward farmers for adopting practices that protect and/or enhance the provision of goods and services from functioning ecosystems that also foster sustainability and address poverty by enabling smallholder farmers to break the subsistence cycle
 remunerate farmers for provision of environmental public goods, particularly improvement on agreed national goals; this could be done at national or regional level
 increase development aid to green growth initiatives in food and agriculture sectors
 public-private partnerships on sustainable development projects
 develop well functioning markets through transparent information, fair prices, sound infrastructure, while avoiding excessive speculation
 encourage co-operative and contractual approaches to support marketing for smallholders, especially for eco-system services
 reduce market distortions to improve opportunities for all strata of agriculture worldwide
 address the substantial gaps in returns for smallholder farmers and the gender inequality exemplified by an estimated 80% of poor farmers being women
 incentives for voluntary stewardship programs for livestock, land care, water conservation, and other improved practices to realize growing market opportunities for food produced with animal health and welfare, food safety and quality, human health and the environment in mind
 furthering solutions that increase the access to foods which are varied and address the nutritional needs of the population, with particular attention to early childhood nutrition
 assess systems, such as intensive rotation grazing, which may also reduce production costs for farmers

4) Reduce poverty since farmers represent one half of the world?s poor and despite high profile promises, woefully few resources have truly and begun to flow to help farmers break the poverty cycle
 have the promises of funding from the G8 L‟Aquila process materialize
 see assistance focused on agricultural development rise to 20% of ODA
 have African countries live up to their CAADP commitments
 ensure that risk management mechanisms are enabled for farmers at national level
 have land tenure rights for farmers, especially women farmers, at the national level
 address the social challenges facing smallholder farmers, especially women
 develop domestic or regional policies supporting agriculture and trade development particularly in developing countries

Achieving sustainable agriculture requires research as well as improved transfer of knowledge, prioritising locally relevant crops, stewardship techniques, investments in infrastructures and adaptation to climate change. This will ensure farmers benefit from continuously updated and improved tools and knowledge to enable them to successfully achieve all the other step of process. Every form of agriculture needs continuous improvement and the different production systems have a role to play. The ultimate goal should be to minimize the resources used to produce each crop or kg of protein, and increase the productivity.
Farmers are eager to do their part. Society and all relevant stakeholders have a shared responsibility to help and encourage farmers to face these challenges, to improve practices to become more sustainable and to ensure a fair income.
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