This year’s World Food Day marked the kick-off of a global conversation through a one-year-long dialogue on future food systems, starting with the 24-hour global relay “Voices of Food Systems” hosted by the UN Food Systems Summit on October 16th.

WFO President Theo de Jager joined the conversation, taking part in the session “Ask a farmer!” hosted by WFO partners Farming First and Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU).

The event focused on how food system transformation can deliver better livelihoods for women and men who work in agriculture.

WFO President opened his speech, reminding the audience that farmers, especially family farmers, are the heart of our economies. “No matter where you go, a farm remains in the mind of the family for many years. We are connected to the soil because this is where our food comes from,” he stated.

He underlined that the largest part of the people who suffer hunger in the world are farmers and there’s only one way to “kill the dragon of poverty” and that’s by creating wealth. And no sector can create wealth in the shortest space of time than agriculture. That is why it is crucial to turn farms into sustainable and profitable businesses.

As the representative of the world farming community within the UN Food Systems Summit Champions Network, he reiterated the eagerness and commitment of farmers to be actors in the preparation and implementation process of UN Food Systems Summit, as “without farmers, there can be no food systems”. “We must ensure that we start right at the bottom with healthy soils to bring healthy food to healthy consumers,” said Theo de Jager reminding that a coordinated, mutually beneficial and trustworthy engagement of all actors at all levels of the food value chain represents the engine of sustainable food systems.