From April 4 to 6, 2022, the President of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), Theo de Jager, together with other representatives of global, regional and national Farmers’ Organisations from around the world, was in Berlin, Germany, for the event “Shaping the Food Systems of Tomorrow – The Role of Farmer Organizations”, organised by AHA Andreas Hermes Akademie and the German Farmers’ Association (DBV). 

Following up on the process and outcomes of the UN 2021 Food Systems Summit, the two-day event focused on the potential of organised agriculture and how farmers’ organizations can effectively help shape sustainable Food Systems 

Recent events have taught us that our Food Systems are fragile and that farmers, as producers of food, are de facto the heart of Food Systems worldwide. Still, they are far too often a marginal player in the political debate, and this prevents succeeding in transforming Food Systems. 

Farmers’ Organizations are the farmers’ voice in the international debate on Food Systems; they are the catalysts for innovation and information dissemination, and intermediaries between agriculture and society.
Strengthening their capacity to build transnational collaborations among farmers is crucial in the transition to sustainable and resilient Food Systems.  

But how Farmers’ Organisations can fulfil their role and unite their collective efforts towards more viable, equitable and fairer Food Systems that leave no one behind? 

 Answering this question was the focus of a public panel discussion that featured the participation of the WFO President and other estimated panellists such as Shamika Mone, President of the Inter-Continental Network of Organic Farmer Organisations (INOFO), Elizabeth Nsimadala, President of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) and representatives of the WFO member organisation German Farmers’ Association (DBV), the German Federal Ministry for International Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Institute for Human Rights. 

Starting his speech, WFO President underlined, “No two farmers in the world farm the same; no two Farmers’ Organisations in the world organise farmers in the same way; no two countries do it and no two continents do it! Farmers are such a diverse group and yet it’s probably the only profession that is really organised in a way in which we can source wisdom and experience from the farm level and communicate it to a global level and back again in a matter of days!”. 

He remarked on the importance of Farmers’ Organisations at the national and international level as they are the real, independent voice of the farmers worldwide. Only by listening to farmers can we really drive an effective change in the Food Systems.

President Theo de Jager took the occasion to highlight the importance of communication for Farmers’ Organisations today: “You have to communicate with a grassroots farmer who wants to know what the implication of these debates for me on my farm is, but you also have to speak to the world and to speak to the most important people in our lives: those who buy our food in shelves and shops!
We are here to feed you, not kill you; we are as serious about the planet as anyone else!
We live closer to nature than anyone else, and we want to find the solutions, find the answers to all these difficult questions.
We want to find it with you because the answers to which we come up – whether it is on health or whether it is on our footprint in nature – must still be valid 20 years from now and 50 years from now, and 100 years from now”. 

Watch the event recording HERE: