WFO’s 3rd general assembly, which 72 agricultural groups from 48 countries attended, closed Wednesday, April 17, in Niigata. WFO President Robert Carlson told a press conference held after the assembly that the meeting was a success, as participants shared the recognition that immediate action should be taken to tackle climate change which affects the agriculture and to support women, as well as securing income for farmers as retailers are gaining more control over price settings. He also stressed that they have come to consensus on the idea that multilateral negotiations taking agriculture into consideration are the best way to decide on international trade rules.
In the assembly, participants discussed five themes including food security. With the number of member groups increasing, they recognized the importance of cooperation among the world’s agricultural groups.
Concerning the improvement of farmers’ income, President Carlson pointed out that the issue at hand is how farmers can increase their say as retailers are taking stronger control of the market. The participants agreed to work on implementing specific measures to deal with the issues in priority, Carlson said.
The participants also shared the common understanding that multilateral negotiations under the World Trade Organization are the best way to reach trade agreements. WFO will use the idea of international trade, which clearly calls for the need to take into consideration interests of the agricultural sector, as their common recognition to submit to international meetings such as WTO.
The common approach on international trade was agreed upon on Monday, April 15. Akira Banzai, President of the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (JA Zenchu) and also a WFO board member, said that it was meaningful for the agricultural groups to come to a consensus despite differences in each of their circumstances.
The next year’s general assembly will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The participants were scheduled to visit agricultural cooperatives and farms in Niigata on the same day.
(April 18, 2013)