The 51st Plenary Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS 51) concluded, after five days of intensive discussions and panels, several of which counted on the World Farmers’ Organisation as a co-organiser and panellist.
As every year, the CFS plenary was the occasion for a wide range of stakeholders working on Food Security and Nutrition to gather and debate on a broad array of topics including policy responses to the global challenge of food insecurity, empowering rural women and girls, leveraging the use of data for driving food security and nutrition, among others.
This gathering provided also the opportunity for WFO representatives to meet with relevant stakeholders as well as to make sure farmers’ voice was brought into relevant conversations.
On October 26, Josiane Irakarama, a WFO Gymnasium alumna and a member of INGABO Syndicate, participated in a side event titled “Investing in Youth to Reduce Inequalities – Implementing CFS Guidelines on Engaging Youth in Agriculture and Food Systems“.
She started her intervention by highlighting the increasing reliance of farmers on scientific advancements to adopt sustainable farming practices. She emphasised that these methods help conserve resources, reduce environmental impact, and ensure the long-term viability of farms. Ms Irakarama remarked that by using Precision Agriculture, data analytics and remote sensing, farmers can make more informed decisions on the ground, improving resource efficiency: “Innovation and technology should always be farmer-(and young farmer) driven, to boost young farmers’ potential”, she stressed.
She then put light on the role of science in helping farmers specifically to adapt to climate change and mentioned the Farmer-Driven Climate Change Agenda adopted by WFO through The Climakers project.
Furthermore, Ms Irakarama mentioned the role of the WFO Scientific Council which provides the best scientific advice, enhancing the science-based perspective of the farmers’ voice in the international debates.
During the event, another WFO Gymnasium student, Ana Carolina Zimmermann, also mentioned her participation in the program and highlighted the importance of such capacity-building and training courses in teaching young farmers to be agricultural leaders of tomorrow, guiding them in learning about the global context, creating alliances, and understanding the global perspective for advocacy.
Overall, this CFS51 side event featured discussions on the critical role of science and technology in advancing agriculture and food systems, as well as the importance of engaging and empowering young farmers in these efforts.
Also on the same day, Dr Nandini Azad, president of the WFO member Indian Cooperative Network for Women Ltd., spoke at a side event titled “Scaling up the Implementation of CFS Policy Instruments in Times of Climate Crisis – The Role of the UN Decade of Family Farming 2019-2028 (UNDFF)“.
Dr Azad started her speech emphasizing that “Rural women have a key role in climate-resilient and gender equality strategies, providing nutritious and affordable food for a growing global population while preserving biodiversity and ecosystems.”
She then pointed out the resilience of family farmers worldwide and their massive efforts in continuing to produce quality food sustainably, even during pre-COVID, COVID, and post-COVID times. She firmly stated that all the stakeholders in the food systems need to empower farmers’ organizations and cooperatives and recognize farmers as agents of change. This acknowledgement is crucial for driving positive change within the food systems.
Dr Azad stressed the significance of organized agriculture, like farmers’ organisations and cooperatives, often overlooked but essential in distributing dividends. She highlighted how cooperatives can lead to more equitable distribution, which is especially beneficial for women involved in agriculture. Furthermore, Dr Nandini Azad called for the promotion of national plans and policies in support of family farming. She emphasized the need to promote the adoption of farmer-driven public policies for family planning, particularly with a focus on women. This approach can lead to more inclusive and effective support for family farmers and further gender equality within agriculture.
Overall, Dr Azad’s remarks at the CFS51 side event underscored the crucial roles of rural women, family farmers, cooperatives, and farmer-driven policies in achieving sustainable and resilient food systems with a strong emphasis on gender equality and inclusivity.
Beyond official commitments and sessions, the CFS51 has provided many collateral networking opportunities.