The World Farmers’ Organisation celebrates its 10th Anniversary since its founding in 2011.
Rome, Italy, June 24, 2021 – Today, the General Assembly, composed of all the Members and Affiliates and representing the highest decision-making body of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), convened digitally to join the most significant event for the institutional life of the Organisation.
This year’s General Assembly marks a special event as WFO celebrates the 10th Anniversary since its founding in 2011, when a few visionary and passionate farmers’ leaders met in Stellenbosch, South Africa, with one common dream: creating a reliable, strong trustful Organisation of farmers, bringing their voice at the highest levels of the global political dialogue on agriculture.
Today, I am proud to affirm that WFO has grown into the biggest independent voice of world farmers at international level, representing farmers of all sizes, all regions, and all sectors under the umbrella of the undeniable vital principle of sustainability.
Today we celebrate 10 amazing years of achievements.
Theo de Jager, President, World Farmers’ Organisation
Farmers are economic actors of the food systems taking the entrepreneurial risks on their shoulders as individuals and families. Farmers invest their own resources over their businesses and reinvest their income in the improvement of the economic viability of their farm, in the social wellbeing of their families and communities and in the resilience capacity to address the multiple challenges, including climate change, also implementing mitigation actions to reduce the impact on the environment.
Farmers organize themselves in associations, forming organisations and cooperatives; they represent themselves independently in political dialogues and are directly on the frontline of projects and programmes implementation.
In this view, farmers have a peculiar role to play that cannot be delegated to any other private or public entity and must have the right to sit at the table of discussions when it comes to agriculture and food-related issues at any levels: local, national, regional, and global.
With this clear mandate, in 10 years, WFO has been advocating tirelessly to influence the most relevant processes at the highest levels of engagement in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the COP Climate, the discussion on Anti-Microbial Resistance, the Disaster Risk Agenda, the Decade on Family Farming, the United Nations Food Systems Summit, and many others. In all these processes, WFO represents the farmers’ constituency in the official mechanisms. Thanks to WFO, a specific inclusive mechanism for producers’ representation was established at the UN Food Systems Summit.
In 10 years, WFO has built a network of more than 250 partnerships, more than 50 of which have been formalized with Memorandum of Understandings in the latest years. These include United Nations Agencies, other International Organisations, private sector companies and bodies, Universities, NGOs and Government Agencies. WFO has engaged at least 350 representatives of its members in direct participation in processes and projects, enhancing the bottom-up approach, which has guided the Organisation from the beginning and has been formalized with the adoption of the Farmers’ Route Declaration in 2019.
The real strength of WFO lies in its members and the engagement of the members in feeding in the Organisation’s political agenda with experiences, stories, and practical solutions farmers are implementing on the ground to generate more sustainability in food systems. Farmers have the solutions in their hands; what they need is an enabling political environment, the opportunity to access funding and investments, partnerships with the other actors in the value chains, and innovation to contribute to the sector modernization and overall sustainability resilience of food systems.
A third principle has accompanied WFO operations and actions beyond the farmer-driven approach guaranteed by the existence of the working groups and committees and the solution-oriented actions provided by the farmers. It is the science-based assumption. All WFO political positions, in fact, are fed in with members’ experience and validated by science. To consolidate this aspect, a Scientific Council was established in 2020 to translate the farmers’ voice into scientific language and provide a scientific back to the WFO policy positions.
This farmer-driven, solution-oriented, science-based approach has been guiding WFO through all its initiatives: from The Climakers to the Gymnasium, to name a few.
Indeed, if the strength of WFO lies in its members, the biggest asset of the Organisation lies in its policy development. Policies are WFO instrument to influence other policies with the common vision of its members. In ten years, WFO adopted policies on Food Security, Climate Change, Value Chain, Trade, Sustainable Livestock, Anti-Microbial Resistance, Women in Agriculture and Sustainable Food Systems. For the future, WFO is going to work on policy revision and expansion.
We went very wide over the last 10 years, now we must go deep to make our Organisation grow stronger and stronger over the next 10 years and beyond, with the aim to create the conditions for agriculture to prosper and make this world a more sustainable place for future generations.
Theo de Jager, President, World Farmers’ Organisation