【Analysis】 WFO members should strengthen cooperation to put forward the voices of farmers in policymaking (April 18, 2013)


 

Shunya Kimura

The 3rd General Assembly of the World Farmers’ Organization displayed a significant step that the organization has made in the three years after it was established, as the members came to a consensus on a common standpoint concerning international trade, and held active discussions on five basic themes with the attendance of international organizations. As climate changes and short food supply are becoming serious worldwide, there is an increasing need for agricultural groups to strengthen coordination beyond national borders to assert farmers’ rights in international circles.

In each of the sessions discussing key issues, different agricultural producer groups presented reports which described their active efforts to solve various problems related to agriculture, such as tree planting to cope with climate changes, support systems to improve farming programs and creation of training and loan schemes for women engaging in farming.

Meanwhile, issues such as tackling climate changes and poverty are tasks that go beyond the capacities of agricultural producer groups. It is necessary for WFO to put forward the voices of farmers on the table for international negotiations and policymaking.

This year’s meeting was significant in that participants agreed on the common view concerning international trade. They clearly noted that consideration for the agricultural sector is indispensable in making trade agreements, and they decided to spread the view internationally.

WFO President Robert Carlson said in the meeting that there are increasing opportunities for him to be invited to international conferences as the representative of agricultural producers. On the other hand, he said that there is little worldwide awareness for the importance of the agricultural sector, and that the WFO has a role to play in underscoring various functions of agriculture.

Attendants from other countries pointed to problems similar to those in Japan, such as aging and decreasing of population engaging in farming and shrinking income.

Japanese agricultural groups should work hand in hand with farmers worldwide to emphasize that agriculture is essential for the stable supply of food and the development of the local community, and that agricultural producer groups are indispensable to support farmers.

(April 18, 2013)

 

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