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Family Farmers Critical to Achieving Sustainable Development - IFAP
Last modified: 2010-03-16 19:52:26

Paris- During the Commission on Sustainable Development Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting (CSD IPM) at the United Nations Headquarters from February 23-27, a delegation of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) farmer leaders, led by President Ajay Vashee, presented the Farmers' Priorities for Action, a five-point integrated approach towards building a new agricultural model that is people centered and knowledge based. The implementation of these priorities by governments and United Nations institutions together with national farmers' organizations is a prerequisite for achieving a sustainable future through agricultural development, while ameliorating adapting to the effects of climate change. At the upcoming CSD from May 4-15,2009 IFAP fully expects governments to incorporate these priorities in the outcomes of the meeting and take them home for wider adoption.

"In the context of spiraling economic woes, agriculture is faced with multifaceted challenges, including doubling world food production by 2050 in order to meet the needs of a growing population," said IFAP President Ajay Vashee. "Public policy makers worldwide must shift their thinking to recognize agriculture and farmers' organizations as an engine for economic growth and harness the full potential of agriculture to reduce poverty and hunger and revitalize rural areas, while maintaining sustainable rural landscapes through the ecosystem services that farmers provide."

In the Farmers' Priorities for Action, IFAP enunciated on behalf of the Farmers' Major group the following five messages:

* Recognize agriculture as an engine for economic growth, rural development and thus poverty reduction.
* Establish conducive policy frameworks and allocate sufficient budgetary resources to attract investments into agriculture.
* Take an integrated approach towards rural development strategies, in particular emphasizing basic rural infrastructure and recognizing women farmers as a driving force for any strategy.
* Develop secure land tenure arrangements, especially for women farmers.
* Combat desertification by turning dry lands into economic assets and give farmers effective risk management tools.

Moreover, the Farmers' Major Group, together with the Science and Technological Community and Business and Industry Major Groups, launched the ‘Farming First' initiative that echoes these priorities.

"Farmers are willing to work with governments and other stakeholders in order to implement a people-centered and knowledge-based agricultural model. We are confident that governments will finally grasp the importance of re-engaging with farmers a long- term and sustainable manner to reduce poverty and hunger and generate a much needed economic stimulus. Including - and not cutting - agriculture and rural development programs in fiscal stimulus packages that governments are using to fight global recession would be a good place to begin."

The IFAP delegation included IFAP President Ajay Vashee, IFAP Vice President Carlos Simancas, the President of the North Dakota Farmers' Union, Robert Carlson, the President of the Wisconsin Farmers' Union, Sue Beitlich, IFAP Senior Policy Officer Nora Ourabah, and IFAP Communication Coordinator Neil Sorensen.


Keywords: IFAP, Family Farmers Critical to Achieving Sustainable Development, Farmers' Priorities for Action, sustainable development, United Nations, Ajay Vashee
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