26 Oct 2018

Thinking local and promoting fair practices for more sustainable food systems and value chains

On October 19th, WFO and Italy's Permanent Representation to the United Nations agencies based in Rome hosted, within the framework of the 45th Plenary Session of the Committee on World Food Security, the side event “Boosting the role of farmers in fairer and more sustainable value chains”, with the aim to promote the key role of local economies in the achievement of global food security and environmental protection.
The meeting featured the participation of a wide range of stakeholders from different sectors, farmers leaders, representatives of multilateral organizations, governments, private sector entities and civil society, to discuss how short supply chains, value chain contracts and origin labelling can ensure more value added to farmers to support food security.

Brenda Tlhabane, young farmer from South Africa, Veronica Barbati, young farmer from Italy, Rossella Cardone, Head of Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility in ERICSSON, Gaetana Petriccione, Senior Researcher of the Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Emilie Vandecandelaere, Agribusiness and Quality Officer in FAO and Victoria Hatton, Senior Policy Analyst of the Ministry for Primary Industries in New Zealand, shared, from their various perspectives, comments and suggestions about fairer and more sustainable value chains.

The importance of local markets and short value chains was highlighted, as well as the role of farmers’ organizations in facilitating farmers’ access to the market.

The role of innovation and digital solutions was also discussed, with a specific reference to the relevance of precision farming and the benefits it can create in terms of sustainability.

Challenges from the farmers’ perspectives were highlighted too as very often farmers do not have access to adequate technologies and even when they do, there is a lack of capacity building for them to understand how to maximize the use of such technologies and adapt it to their needs.

The meeting ended with the increased awareness among all the participants, speakers and audience, that strengthening local markets and actors contributes to tackle global challenges like food security, Information and Communications Technology improves sustainable production and farmers’ incomes and a stronger cooperation between different sectors empowers farmers, improves their working and living conditions and builds more integrated and holistic approaches to achieve more sustainable food systems and value chains, thus contributing to global food security.