The fifth global meeting of the Farmers’ Forum was hosted in Rome, Italy, February 17-20, 2014 at the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD) headquarters to mark the beginning of the International Year of Family Farming 2014 (IYFF-2014). Food Tank’s very own Danielle Nierenberg participated in this event.
This event is a biennial discussion between IFAD and associations representing rural producers and small-scale farmers, held in union with the annual Governing Council, which is a coalition of commissions and experts from IFAD’s member states—smallholder farmers, pastoralists, foresters, and artisanal fishers are able to share their ideas on reducing rural poverty and promoting food security, doing so from a grassroots perspective.
The 2014 Farmers’ Forum focused on topics including, but not limited to, expanding market access for family farmers, small-scale fisheries, boosting the voice of smallholders in discussions on agricultural policy, and bolstering the presence of women in farmers’ organizations. Farmers’ Forum participants drafted a statement reading, “smallholder family farming should be recognized as a pillar of local, sustainable development and a substantial guarantee for food security and peace and stability in the world. This vision has to be conceived at every level and implemented in national actions with positive effects for each community.”
The 2014 Farmer’s Forum participants discussed future directions for seizing opportunities and improving collaboration, outlining a sustainable development plan for post-2015 activities, which will focus on poor rural individuals as strategic partners. Some of the requests of attendees included urging IFAD to improve the image of small-scale farming, increasing the contribution of smallholder producers’ organizations in country-level programs, and enhancing cooperation between IFAD and farmers.
IFAD will be investing in rural people in the years to come, maintaining a grassroots focus on rural development, as “IFAD believes that smallholder and family farmers can and should be at the forefront of the transformation of world agriculture.” IFAD notes that “ending hunger and poverty is within our reach, but only if we place family and smallholder farmers at the center of rural development efforts.”
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