The WFO GA 2023 opening day paved the way for an immersive exchange between farmer’s leaders and other relevant food systems stakeholders that convened together in Sun City, South Africa, to engage in meaningful discussions about the current and future state of the farming sector.
In recent years, the global population has been affected by several challenges that seriously harm the peace, prosperity, well-being and development of people and the planet. Economic instability, climate change, food insecurity and malnutrition are some of the most severe consequences of these challenges at all levels.
Farmers struggle every day to produce enough healthy food for all, protect and restore biodiversity, keep soils healthy, and mitigate and adapt to a changing climate. They hold the burden of this fight on their own shoulders and bear the costs of disruptions of any kind in their daily business, directly impacting the farm income, families and community wellbeing.
Farmers find solutions on their own as they know that resilience is their first asset to have their business survive the turbulences caused by economic, social, and environmental instabilities.
Farmers’ local solutions are there to respond to the global challenges the world is facing.
The question is: how do we leverage the farmers’ solutions to address the global challenges?
Most of the answers to this question lay in coherent trade rules and regulations, favourable policy environments for the farmers, the right investments at the farm level on technology, training, capacity building programmes, and rural infrastructure, as well as effective research programmes that respond to the farmers’ needs.
Two big global consultations with the farmers on Climate-Smart Agriculture and Regenerative Food Systems opened this year’s WFO Annual Meeting. Here are some highlights of the first day’s Farmers’ Consultations and the Opening Ceremony:
GLOBAL FARMERS’ CONSULTATION ON FARMER-CENTRIC, REGENERATIVE FOOD SYSTEMS
The day has begun with a focus on Farmer-centric Principles for Regenerative Food Systems.
Organized within the framework of the REGEN10 initiative, the morning consultation provided a platform for farmers to share their valuable contributions to regenerative food systems and discuss their practical solutions and experiences, highlighting the positive impact these initiatives have on nature and the environment.
REGEN10 is a multistakeholder, collaborative project committed at building regenerative food systems that are capable of providing affordable, accessible, and nutritious food for all in a way that protects the planet. It was launched in November 2022 during COP27. It aims to develop, through a highly consultative process, the principles, metrics, and framework needed to build truly inclusive, productive and regenerative food systems and draw on existing initiatives to gather data and evidence from landscape-level projects, to learn how best to integrate and scale regenerative systems. The activities are framed in a global collaborative platform to engage widely and identify how policy, business, finance, research, and capacity-building can best support approaches that deliver positive outcomes for people, nature and climate. Regen10 is driven by a true farmer-centric, deeply inclusive and evidence-based approach.
WFO is a founding partner of the initiative and plays a key role in making sure that farmers’ needs and solutions are integrated into all initiatives with a true bottom-up approach.
That is why WFO decided to host this Global Consultation, whose goal was to collect inputs and insights from farmers from around the world for the definition of Regenerative Principles and hear directly from their voices how they are generating a positive impact on nature through farmer-driven solutions.
GLOBAL PRODUCERS’ CONSULTATION ON CLIMATE-SMART AGRICULTURE, TO BETTER CONNECT RESEARCHERS AND PRODUCERS
Later in the day, the attention shifted to Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA).
Organized within the AgMission initiative, of which WFO is a founding partner, the consultative meeting focused on farmers’ experiences with CSA, including the barriers to adoption they meet and the solutions they have found.
AgMission is a programme conceived by The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) and World Farmers’ Organisation that aims at tackling climate change by fostering an improved collaboration between farmers and researchers. The programme builds on a strong science-based focus through research and data action by creating and sharing new knowledge to increase access to agricultural information in novel inventive ways and address research gaps as a public good.
In the framework of AgMission, WFO is implementing a Global Producers’ Consultation to engage farmers and ranchers comprehensively, allowing a dialogue between them and scientists to co-create a research agenda that brings out actionable insights.
The Global Producers’ Consultation is leveraging a farmer-driven scientific methodology for consistent, inclusive, and representative data gathering from producers globally to inform research and implementation projects supporting the growing need for on-farm resiliency. The farmer-driven, comparable data and insights from this methodology can support national, regional, and global initiatives to accelerate the transition to climate-smart agriculture.
Today the Global Producers’ Consultation reached its first consultative occasion. It has been a crucial moment to fully understand the effectiveness of this programme in translating the farmers’ needs and concerns into scientifically validated statements. The gathering of farmers’ representatives from across the globe focused on understanding the producers’ perspectives on the challenges posed by climate change, their awareness of and willingness to adopt existing solutions, and the systemic barriers to adoption will help unlock opportunities for accelerated response to climate change.
In the evening, the Cascades Maltos Beach opened to all the attendees for the official start of the WFO Annual Meeting.
The Opening Ceremony took place in the stunning framework of a palm-fringed beach lapped by crystalline waters.
The high-level representatives of governments and other national and subnational institutions, multilateral and international organizations, private sector entities, and others that addressed the Opening Ceremony included:
- Ms Desbo Sefanyetso Mohono, MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, North West Provincial Government, Republic of South Africa
- H.E. Ms Angela Thoko Didiza, Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Republic of South Africa
- Mr Arnold Puech d’Alissac, President, World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO)
- Mr QU Dongyu, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – video message
- Mr Carlo Alberto Sisto, President, CNH Industrial Europe, Middle East & Africa
- Mr Francesco Maria Rispoli, Head of Southern Africa Multi-Country Office, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), on behalf of IFAD President Alvaro Lario – video message
- Mr Antonie Delport, Managing Director, Syngenta South Africa
- Mr Richard York, Chief Executive Officer, Wildlife Ranching South Africa (WRSA)
- H.E. Ambassador Gabriel Ferrero de Loma Osorio, Chairperson, Committee on World Food Security (CFS) – video message
- Ms Silvia Caprara, WFO Gymnasium GYMx Winner, Giovani di Confagricoltura – ANGA
- Ms Jennifer Crall, Global Head Partnerships-Growers Engagement & AgriChain Activation, Bayer Crop Science
- Dr Theo de Jager, Board Chair, Southern African Agri Initiative (SAAI)