Organic Farmers Advocated for Organic at IFAD Farmers Forum, Rome Feb 2020

The Intercontinental Network of Organic Farmers Organisations (INOFO) recently participated at the 7th Global Meeting of the Farmers’ Forum (FAFO 2020) in the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) headquarters in Rome. From February 6 to 11, IFOAM – Organics International’s representatives emphasized the need to increase efforts to promote organic practices in IFAD’s programs and projects.

FAFO 2020 aimed to strengthen effective partnerships and collaboration between IFAD and farmer organizations in country programs and investment projects. With more than 80 farmers’ leaders from around the world gathered at the event, INOFO’s delegates didn’t miss the chance to advocated for organic.

During the opening session, Shamika Mone, INOFO President, and member of the FAFO Steering Committee, highlighted the need to recognize the role of “organic farmers as think tanks of traditional indigenous knowledge” and support them to mainstream indigenous seed varieties rather than spending loads of funds in creating genetic modified crops. Thales Mendonça, INOFO Latin America Convener, asked on the need to prioritize the inclusion of agroecology/organic practices and youth in the IFAD programs and projects. Rowena Buena, INOFO Convener for Asia, represented the voice of organic farmers at the Farmers Forum drafting committee.

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Through their activities, the delegation also asked IFAD and the governments to shift their approaches to strengthening organic farming as industrialized farming systems using chemical and GMOs are not compatible with a realistic solution to minimize the effects of the current climate crisis. As a result, the FAFO 2020 statement urged IFAD and the Governments of IFAD Member States to strengthen their support to small-scale food producer’s initiatives based on agroecological, organic and other sustainable food production systems and practices on lands, waters and forests. FAFO also called for promoting the use of traditional genetic resources (seeds and livestock) and recommended the acknowledgement of agroecology, organic, and other climate-resilient sustainable food production models as key approaches for both adaptation to and mitigation of climate change.

New Generations and the Future of Agriculture

INOFO organized a side event on February 10. The “Youth in Agriculture – An Organic Perspective” forum gave voice to organic farmers’ leaders who proposed solutions for the permanence, with sovereignty and empowerment, and continuity of youth in the farms and countryside.

During the event, Thales Mendonça highlighted the responsibility of new generations to change the agriculture model in the world, “we take the lead as organic farmers to farm in a holistic way together with all ecosystems components”, he affirmed. Rowena Buena (MASIPAG, Philippines) encouraged young farmers as “organic agriculture breaks the chains of continuous dependence to harmful inputs, indebtedness and low productivity in the long run, young farmers should realize that to achieve these requires their involvement, energy and technology know-how”.  

Senior organic farmers, as Charles Mubanga (Mpongwe Bulima Co-op, Zambia), also participated. He underlined the role of Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) on the future of local markets “PGS are farmer friendly tools which enable farmers to develop their markets at affordable cost with the participation of consumers who happen to be their customers”.

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