14th CGRFA, Rome, Italy:

Agenda 2.1: Preparation of the State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture

17 April 2013

As an organization devoted to the implementation of farmers’ rights, we commend the CGRFA in including as one of the report’s objective the 3rd objective; which is to “improve recognition of the continuing role of farmers, pastoralists, forest dwellers and fisher-folk around the world in the maintenance of biodiversity for food and agriculture, and of the contribution that it makes to their livelihoods.”

While this was stated as an objective of the report, however, there is no more mention of how this objective will be achieved in the preparation of the report. We strongly suggest, that a whole chapter be devoted to this objective in the report. We have often acknowledged the crucial role of small food producers, yet they continue to be marginalized and socially excluded, even in reports. If not, reports only highlight how GRFA benefit farmers, but not how small food producers manage PGRFA for the benefit of all humanity. We need to remind everyone that it is the 85% of the world’s small food producers that feed the world. Yet, previous state of the world reports on PGRFA do not report on their perspectives, strengths, weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats to small farmers, pastoralists, forest dwellers and fisher-folk in continuing their work in agricultural biodiversity and in feeding the world. The interlocked relationship of agricultural biodiversity and small men and women farmers in the conservation, development and sustainable use, most especially of domesticated PGRFA, deserves a key area in the report.

Furthermore, we need to include in the future agenda in Chapter 6, ways of improving recognition of, and support for, the roles and contributions of small men and women food producers. But we need to go beyond recognition. We need to implement their rights as pronounced in Article 9 of ITPGRFA. We need to realize that implementing and enforcing farmers’ rights is implementing our right to food. Our right to food are human rights, hence farmers’ rights are our human rights.

To ensure full recognition of small farmers, pastoralists, forest dwellers and fisher-folk, we start off by encouraging their full and genuine participation in the report. We need to include farmers’ perspectives, and farmers’ voices in all the chapters of the report. Since they have been nurturing biodiversity for food and agriculture for thousands of years, they need to be considered experts and enjoy the same standing and respect as governments, scientists, policymakers and other persons in authority in this room.

We acknowledge the perceived difficulty in including the perspectives and voices of small food producers in preparing for the World’s State of Biodiversity in Food and Agriculture. To this end, and to halt their continuing marginalization and social exclusion, we urge the CGRFA to call on an international decade dedicated to small farmers, pastoralists, forest dwellers and fisher-folk.