On March 20, Dr Andrea Porro, in his capacity as Secretary General of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), joined as a speaker the webinar “COP 28 and Food Trade”, hosted by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) within the “Trade Dialogues on Food” initiative.

The event, moderated by Doaa Abdel-Motaal, Senior Counsellor of the WTO Agriculture and Commodities Division, and featuring eminent panelists like Sandeep Sengupta, Global Policy Lead on Climate Change at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN); Morgan Gillespy, Executive Director of the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU); David Laborde, Director of the Agrifood Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations; and Edwini Kessie, Director of the WTO Agriculture and Commodities Division, provided a significant platform for discussing the intersection of global trade, agriculture, and sustainability, particularly in the aftermath of COP28 and its outcomes.

Collaboration is key to a Sustainable Agricultural Sector

The WFO Secretary General opened his address by underscoring the need for a collaborative approach towards a more economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable agricultural sector. He advocated against placing the entire burden of change on farmers, calling for shared responsibility.

Addressing Farmers’ Concerns

It should not be surprising that farmers’ concerns are raising globally; Dr Porro stressed that farmers are not opposed to change but are concerned about demands that overlook their daily challenges. Among the key issues are higher input costs, market volatility, and unpredictable weather patterns. He stated, “Farmers feel they are at the receiving end of decisions made,” highlighting the need for their involvement in decision-making processes. Failing to include farmers in the decision-making processes can also aggravate the feeling of exclusion and be one of the motivators of farmers’ protests, as we have recently seen.

Revised WFO Policy on International Trade

Discussing the revised WFO Policy on International Trade, the WFO Secretary General highlighted its alignment with sustainability goals. He pointed out that the revised policy notably focuses on reconciling agricultural production with climate and environmental objectives.
Dr Porro also spoke about the journey to adopting the revised trade policy, emphasising the power of dialogue among farmers to bridge differences. The key to reaching a consensus was recognizing the necessity of collective action and the value of each farmer’s contribution.

In concluding his speech, the WFO Secretary General remarked that farmers are not held back by the scale of the challenge but are instead eager to contribute to effective solutions. These solutions, he underlined, must be informed by the experiences and needs of the farming community.


WATCH THE LIVE RECORDING: https://www.youtube.com/live/_wVRdtnk-pE?si=4YMOO1lbECxMvGRF