WFO brought the farmers’ voice to the Bayer event on sustainable AG solutions
On Monday, 17 October 2022, the WFO Secretary General, Arianna Giuliodori, joined the Bayer Event “Fields of opportunity: feeding the world, protecting the planet” to bring the farmers’ voice into the discussion on how to advance sustainable agriculture practices.
The event aimed to paint a vision of the future of agriculture.
Ms Giuliodori pointed out that farmers are not facing only one challenge; they are facing multiple challenges, first of all, food insecurity, but also climate change effects, biodiversity protection and restoration, and the quality of nutrition, to mention a few. “And then, at the end of the day, when a farmer made his or her choice on the farm, that choice must fit in all of these challenges at the same time” – she remarked, inviting the audience to reflect on how much pressure is upon the farmers’ shoulders.
The WFO SG continued explaining that to advance towards more sustainable agriculture practices, “we need to make sure that we provide the farmers with the widest possible toolbox where they are going to pick the solution that is the most adaptive to their reality”.
To be sure we provide the right tools to farmers, we must reverse the paradigm and stop considering farmers only as a target, and “embrace farmers as actors sitting at the table with research (which is fundamental) governments and other relevant value chain stakeholders to design strategies that best fit their needs and expectations“.
“What we need is a farmer-centric science-based approach to offer pragmatic solutions that can be used on farms” – WFO Secretary General, Arianna Giuliodori
Answering the question of which can be the drivers for a sustainable transition in agriculture, Arianna Giuliodori explained that “what the farmers, through their organised voice, always says is that what we need is a farmer-centric science-based approach to offer pragmatic solutions that can be used on farms”.
Furthermore, farmers are economic actors, so what could drive the transition is to “make solutions innovative but also viable, solutions that are able to deliver an economic return on the investment that is necessary,” she remarked.
“You need Farmers’ Organisations to go the last mile between a nice idea and a successful implementation” – WFO Secretary General, Arianna Giuliodori
A farmer-centric approach doesn’t mean that the farmers have to bear the cost of everything; it must be a joint effort through the value chain to find solutions that are able to deliver value: “if we don’t rebalance power in the value chain, if we don’t give value to the farmers, this is just a very nice fairy tale we are telling us, it’s not the direction we are taking.”
Ms Giuliodori remembered the audience the fact that farmers are fragmented, so it is necessary to find a way to bring those innovative solutions to the farmers where they are: “there is another actor in this game, and that is necessary, and it’s the organised agriculture because you will never reach the last farmer of the most remote rural area on your own. You need farmers’ organisations to go the last mile between a nice idea and a successful implementation.”
She closed her intervention by launching another challenge to the panellists and the audience: “how do we ensure the data we are collecting bring value to the farmers as well, and not only to other actors in the value chain? Because that’s where things can make the difference between simply sharing or being part of the solution and contributing to building insights that are meaningful and drive change.”
Watch the event recording HERE.