12 Oct 2017

Ms. Tlhabane at CFS 44: "Farmers are the first link in the food chain"


Ms. Brenda Tlhabane, this morning gave her statement at the plenary session of CFS 44. She expressed farmers' appreciation for the independent evaluation report of CFS and stressed the uniqueness of farming sector.

"WFO presents its compliments to the CFS Chair, Secretariat and the Member States for the excellent work dispensed so far in the different items treated.

I am Brenda, a farmer from South Africa, and I speak on behalf of the farmers’ constituency.

Farmers welcome the evaluation report and thank the evaluation team for the efforts made throughout the whole evaluation process. We believe that this independent exercise has been very relevant to analyse the work of the Committee and to assess the extent to which it is fulfilling its mandate and how to improve its efficiency.

We also express our appreciation to Dr. Kalhed El Taweel and Mr. Jon Erlinguer for facilitating the preparation of the response to the evaluation.

We participated in the consultation process and we welcome the consultation report and the roadmap to prepare the response to the recommendations that have not been presented to this plenary and will be presented to CFS45, including recommendations n. 4 on the composition and processes of the Bureau and the Advisory Group.

The recommendation n.4 does not reflect the reality. The request of a farmers’ mechanism does not come from WFO only, but from a coalition of the following regional and international farmers’ organisations requesting a permanent seat for farmers in the Advisory Group: FARM Mercosur, EAFF, SACAU, COPA-COGECA CAFAN, PAFO, UMNAGRI, and WFO – all founded and financed by farmers.

Farmers are the first link in the food chain.

The farming sector is special for another reason: Farms are so diverse.

There are small, medium and large-scale farms.

Many farms are family farms, where family members stand together and work hard to advance the well-being of their family.

Farmers are also often affected by food insecurity in many parts of the world.

But beyond all of these differences, farmers have the common interest to grow food, increase their productivity, and hand over the farm to the next generation in a better condition.

Therefore, we believe a balanced representation of farmers is essential. Active farmers are the ones who have to make the difference. Without farmers, no food and no food security.

Farmers support the proposal made by the Committee that the Bureau may decide to appoint the Advisory Group until March 2018 to maintain the actual composition and continue the discussion on its composition and functioning according to the CFS evaluation.

We strongly underline in the multi-stakeholder nature of the CFS, we are ready to continue working with all the other actors on such an important task as the response to the evaluation process".