WFO positions are the result of a truly bottom-up approach led by its members that are at the basis of each strategic and political document. WFO members propose the key areas, work on the position papers and approve them during the General Assembly, ensuring that WFO can advocate for the needs and expectations of the farming community.
WFO is committed to achieving Sustainable Food Systems contributing to the process design, preparation and implementation, and to secure an opportunity for the voice of family farmers to be heard and for the world farmers to be kept at the heart of any sustainable food systems fair transformation.
WFO Policy Paper on Sustainable Food Security
Farmers are the key to achieve Sustainable Food Security. What farmers produce is the precondition to attain the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 2.
They produce food, feed and fiber. They lend and manage the land for coming generations. They are the ones maintaining their land fertile and their soils in a good health. Farmers have the knowledge and are eager to produce food even more efficiently with the sustainability of natural resources in focus. Resource efficiency will be improved further by technology and innovation.
WFO Recommendations for Eliminating Rural Poverty and Achieving Food Security
More than 1 billion people in the world live in absolute poverty. 925 million people do not have enough food in order to sustain life and work. The great majority of these people live in the rural areas, and most of them are farmers. Farmers constitute about one third of the world´s population,
but half of the world´s hungry.
WFO Policy Paper on Climate Change and Agriculture
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. Farmers and foresters are on the frontline of this change as the lives and livelihoods of those who feed, clothe and fuel the world are directly affected by a changing climate and weather extremes. At the same time, agriculture is expected to meet the future needs of a more urban and affluent population of 9 billion by 2050. Consequently, agricultural production will need to increase significantly. Along with food, global demand for water, energy and land will also increase, putting additional pressure on the world’s natural resources and threatening the very ecosystems we rely upon.
Farmers and farmers’ cooperative organisations can play many roles and perform different functions, from facilitating services delivery, mobilisation of local resources, and collective marketing, to members’ empowerment at local level and engagement with policy and service providers by creating an enabling environment to build farmers’ capabilities. We call on policy makers to create an enabling environment for this boost to structured organization for farmers by legal systems, political support and inclusion within relevant fora of discussion. Promoting fair trading practices and stronger relationships between food production and consumption, and among value chain actors, developing different networks of distribution and exchange could bring concrete solutions to global challenges contributing to the sustainability of food systems and security of food supply.
Giving more freedom of choice to farmers together with more value added can contribute to global food security ensuring sustainable food systems that respect producers’ work, consumers and environment.
A Fair and Balanced Functioning Food Chain
Farmers are confronted with substantial concentration of the industry upstream and downstream of the farming sector. A few large firms dominate both the distribution side and the input side of the agri-food chain. There is a genuine concern in the farming community that world markets are not functioning in a fair and balanced way, and that world market prices are not reflecting true economic conditions.
WFO Policy on International Trade
Farmers play a crucial role feeding the world’s population. We also help maintain viable rural communities and care for much of the world’s land resources. But the challenges we face are increasing.
Farmers will need to increase production significantly if future demand for food is to be met. Yet the world’s resources of land and water are finite. In addition, we are facing more extremes of climate and long-term shifts in growing conditions due to climate change, while price volatility is also on the increase.
WFO Policy on Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Livestock
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens the effective prevention and treatment of infections in humans and animals. Resistant bacteria and infectious diseases do not respect borders and are present in all parts of the world. Global action is needed to preserve the long-term availability of effective treatment of infections for future generations. AMR is of great importance to human and animal health and a One Health approach at global, regional and national level is crucial for tackling AMR. Close cooperation between stakeholders in human and veterinary medicine is needed and everyone must take part in the fight against AMR. WFO will support and encourage farmers, veterinarians, specialists in livestock production, and food specialists to join forces and combat AMR together to minimize the risk of it spreading, while taking into consideration the human, animal and environmental dimensions.
WFO Policy on Livestock Production
Livestock production currently faces a number of global challenges in terms of global food security, food safety, animal diseases and welfare, antimicrobial resistance, economic viability, and expectations related to landscape and environment. On the other hand, the global community acknowledges that livestock farming has an essential role for poverty reduction and the achievement of food security and nutrition. It is highly relevant to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as to the implementation of the 2014 Rome Declaration on Nutrition and to the fulfilment of the universal Human Right to Food.
Cooperatives can be considered as an innovative business model and play a key role in boosting the potential of the farming sector. Indeed, agricultural cooperatives foster farmers’ economic, social and political inclusion as their members can get access to markets, value chains, opportunities that would otherwise be beyond their reach. Strengthening cooperatives is key to facilitate farmers’ access to resources, including land, technology, information education, funds, insurances, social services, that individual farmers may otherwise not be able to access alone, thus fostering development of rural communities.
Innovation is much more than the mere adoption of new technologies and should be adopted from different points of view: it should be technological, social, organisational. Indeed, it is considered as a key driver to improve the quality of production, as well as to boost the sustainability and resilience of food systems. Farmers are innovators by nature and innovation in agriculture has to be farmers driven, based on farmers’ needs, expertise and knowledge. Also, it has to be affordable for all farmers so to be an instrument for them to be game changers for achieving more resilient, inclusive and sustainable food systems.
Women play a key role in achieving global food security and making food systems more sustainable. However, their crucial role in taking care of families and communities, preserving local traditions and ecosystems, and their active contribution to the farming sector, remains often hidden and unpaid. Empowering women, providing them with the adequate skills and capacity-building opportunities to increase their self-leadership, as well as reducing inequalities in their access to resources, is a crucial precondition for the sustainable development of rural communities.
WFO Policy on Women in Agriculture
Globally, women play a central role in the agricultural sector, engaging in a myriad of ways as producers, laborers, marketers, and entrepreneurs. This is of course, coupled with duties and responsibilities over family nutrition, child-care, and food security which are still mainly conducted by women.
Despite facing many challenges, including unemployment, lack of access to land, credit, resources, education, young farmers are a huge goldmine for the future of our food systems. Facilitating their access to education and training, financial and non-financial resources, as well as engaging them in the policy making processes, is key to unlock their potential to provide solutions toward a more sustainable farming sector.
Young Farmers’ Manifesto
Young farmers present a huge goldmine that can provide the solution to the main challenges of the 21st century as well as a strong potential to modernize an ageing agricultural sector that needs to be rejuvenated if a sustainable future and social stability for the Planet are to be achieved.