On October 15th, WFO President Theo de Jager and Veronica Barbati, President of Coldiretti Giovani Impresa and WFO Gymnasium Alumna, brought the farmers’ voice into the event “The Potential, Practice, and Politics of Repurposing Public Agriculture Support for Healthy People, Planet and Economy”, co-organized by the Just Rural Transition Policy Action Coalition, the World Bank, and WFO within the framework of CFS High-Level Virtual Special Event “Global Governance of Food Security and Nutrition”.
Discussing on the potential of repurposed public agricultural policy and support as a means of advancing the aims of a productive, efficient, and sustainable agriculture, Theo de Jager reminded that every country has its own policies to deal with farmers; however, it is clear that a global approach involving multi-stakeholders partnerships is needed to achieve the triple bottom-line of Healthy People, Planet and Economy.
He also underlined that there is only one way to turn the farmers’ heads in the same direction, that is to give them a dream they can pursue. “Everything starts with a healthy soil, no matter what or where we farm. If we want to change how farmers behave, we need to change the market. If we are able to create a market for healthy soils that is viable and sustainable for farmers, they will embrace it,” he underlined.
“As farmers, we cannot deliver healthy people, a healthy planet, and healthy economies alone. We need to partner up with multilateral and financial institutions and the private sector. Farmers are very practical people, and you need to give them practical solutions. In this meeting, we have been invited to the kitchen and not only to dinner,” WFO President stated closing his speech.
Veronica Barbati emphasized how underlined how never before food has been so high in the public debate; everybody is now concerned about the importance of food as well as of preserving resources. “Also, we now know the importance of ensuring income for farmers, as well as implementing correct management of natural resources, even considering the challenges of climate change,” she said, opening her speech.
About the challenges to achieving healthy people, planet and economy from repurposing public agriculture policy and support, she underlined that food systems transformation cannot be left in the hands of a few; it must result from a joint effort and be supported by efficient public policies and funding. But to be efficient, it must be participated and shared with all relevant stakeholders, including consumers.
She called for real participation of farmers in repurposing public support to agriculture, as it is crucial to ensure access to nutritious, healthy, and affordable food for a growing population.
As a young farmer, she didn’t miss the opportunity to reiterate the need to enhance the presence of young people in the agricultural sector. “We need to create a good environment for the investments to retain youth in rural areas, to show them there are opportunities for them to work and live from agriculture,” she stated.
“I want to see a world where agriculture deserves more respect,” Veronica Barbati said, closing her speech.