A WFO policy paper for fairer and more sustainable food systems

At its 2020 General Assembly, WFO adopted a Policy position on Sustainable Food Systems. The Policy is proposed as the Farmers’ Route to a sustainable food systems transformation.

Food systems are complex, diverse, and interconnected. Enough food for an increasing world population must be guaranteed while, coping with the effects of climate change, resource depletion, unexpected disasters, and malnutrition.

Farmers, and especially family farmers, anchor food systems and take full responsibility for their part. They play an essential role in creating jobs and economic development in rural areas. They are indispensable as managers of the environment and ecosystems. They deliver safe and nutritious food. They produce biomass and other renewable products. They help to mitigate climate change. They keep the soils healthy. They contribute to protect and restore biodiversity. They minimise waste and much more.

Farmers are also fully aware of the need to take better account of societal expectations: farmers already engage many efforts and changes. However, the income that farmers generate is not always enough to allow them to earn their living. Avoiding excessive concentration and ensuring a fair share of the value across the different actors of the food chain is critical to ensure the livelihoods of family farmers and rural communities.

The time has come to show the key contribution of farmers to achieve a more sustainable future, inclusive, respectful of the diversity and richness of local production realities.

WFO Policy on Sustainable Food Systems embraces three principles: Inclusiveness, Transparency and Farmers Driven Approach.

It calls all other actors, governments, private sector, multilateral and financial institutions, public and private research sector, to work together across siloes and commit to:

  • Win the war against poverty.
  • Achieve Food and Nutrition Security.
  • Fight against climate change.
  • Protect and enhance biodiversity.
  • Promote sustainable farmers, driven Research and Innovation.
  • Unlock investments and incentives.
  • Build a fairer value chain.

These are times of significant challenges and significant concerns. COVID-19 crisis has turned everything in our economies and our societies upside-down. Never in the history of food systems, there has been such a strong recognition of the crucial role of farmers in our societies. Food is on top of the priorities in the public debate; everybody is now caring, everybody is now concerned about food production, and farmers can not miss this opportunity to design fairer and more sustainable food systems.