Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fifth global meeting of the Farmers' Forum

8 February 2014. Special session of the Farmers' Forum on Small-scale Fisheries. This special session, organised at the request of the 2012 FAFO meeting, gathered selected IFAD staff and representatives of Fishers’ Organizations involved in the consultations on the Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries Guidelines.

15 and -16 February 2014. Preparatory sessions. These preparatory sessions have been requested by the Farmers and Rural Producers Organisations (FOs) engaged in the Forum to allow them to better prepare their meeting with IFAD. They included a meeting of the Steering Committee on Saturday 15 morning and plenary sessions of all FOs delegates on Sunday.

17 - 18 February 2014. Main sessions of the Farmers' Forum. The main sessions of the Forum were organised as business discussion between FOs representatives and IFAD staff and managers and were focussed on FOs-IFAD operational partnership.  

Thematic Working Groups took place on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. 
  1. Roles of FOs in linking smallholder/family producers to local/regional markets on better terms – Staple crops
  2. Roles of FOs in linking smallholder/family producers to local/regional markets on better terms– Fisheries, livestock & dairy
  3. Building inclusive agricultural policy dialogue platforms at national and regional levels: achieving policy results for smallholders' and family farmers
  4. Regional programmes in support of FOs: sharing the experience of Support to Farmers' Organizations in Africa Programme (SFOAP) , Medium Term Cooperation Programme (MTCP) in Asia and prospects for scaling up  
  5. Theme selected by FO members of the Steering Committee 
EAFF delegation at the fifth global 

meeting of the Farmers's Forum
19 February 2014. Bilateral meetings between FOs and Operational staff and informal working sessions. 
  1. Presentation of “More and better public policies in support of family farming – the experience of REAF Mercosur
  2. Presentation and discussion of draft IFAD toolkit on “How to engage with farmers’ organizations to link smallholders to markets” 
20 February 2014. Informal working sessions between FOs' participants and selected IFAD staff and partners + Side events of the Farmers' Forum 
  1. Side Event 1: “The International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) and the campaigns at national levels“, organized by WRF and the IYFF campaign / 
  2. Side Event 2: “Agriculture Advisory Services and Farmers' Organizations“, organised by GFRAS and FAO
  3. Side Event 3: “Agro-ecological peasant agriculture, food production and fisheries are an answer to the food and climate crisis. Which support is effective?”, organized by La Via Campesina
  4. Side Event 4: “Farmers in the governance of Agriculture Research and Innovation for Development”, organized by AFA and GFAR: Changing agricultural innovation and research for development. The main objectives of this side event was ensure that farmer representatives
    engaged in the IFAD Farmers’ Forum process: (a) Learn about changes in governance of AR4D at national, regional and international levels ; (b) Consider mechanisms to strengthen farmer representation to influence these changes in the governance of agricultural innovation ; (c) Propose ways of working to establish commitments that will effect transformations in institutional governance of AR4D processes 
What should farmers expect as the principal results of this event: from farmers’ organizations, GFAR and the AR4D community? Esther Penunia, Secretary General, Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA)

What is GFAR? What is the evolving landscape for agricultural innovation and research for development? Mark Holderness, Executive Secretary, GFAR
GFAR reform: transforming representation, accountability and programming towards a Constituent Assembly and a renewed Forum, including farmer representation on the GFAR and other AR4D governing bodies. Thomas Price, Senior Officer, Agricultural Innovation and Society, GFAR Secretariat

CGIAR research programmes, national research and other partners: beyond “partnering” to meaningful engagement with farmers and their organizations. Harry Palmier, Senior Officer, Partnerships, GFAR Secretariat

General discussion: 
  1. What are the commitments of the GFAR Secretariat, GFAR Steering Committee, and farmers?
  2. How to proceed with subsequent consultation and decisions on representation (regional events, the GFAR governing bodies, the GFAR Constituent Assembly at the end of 2014)?
  3. How should farmers be represented in GFAR’s governance?
  4. How can farmers’ organizations mobilize actions in partnerships with others groups?

Statement of the 2014 Farmers’ Forum
The International Year of Family Farming 2014 should constitute a significant step forward in improving the quality of life of hundreds of millions of smallholder family farmers, fisherfolk, livestock breeders and indigenous communities.

IFAD should extend its fisheries programmes to more countries and provide an inclusive space for small scale fishers’ organizations. IFAD should ensure the integration of small-scale fishery organizations into its on-going grants programmes. It should support the implementation of the International Guidelines on Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries and facilitate dialogue between small-scale fisher organisations’ and national governments.

More attention to livestock breeders and pastoralists is needed, and we recommend to have a special session on livestock issues and pastoralism at next Farmers Forum. 
Last 24th January 2014, various representatives of La Via Campesina took part in a colloquium organized in The Hague to discuss the concept of Food sovereignty. Elisabeth Mopfu, as general coordinator of La Via Campesina was invited to give a speech at this Yale Conference on Food Sovereignty attended by many academics, researchers and specialists, from universities around the world. You can read the speech of Elisabeth Mopfu here.

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