Our presence at World Farmers Organization gathering

This week, the World Farmers Organization is holding their 2016 General Assembly in Livingstone, Zambia. This year’s theme is “Partnership for Growth” and is bringing together representatives ranging from international organizations to local NGOs from various parts of the world. Click here for the WFO program.

Jim Ennis, executive director of Catholic Rural Life, is presenting on the third day of the gathering as part of a session devoted to fostering economic growth in rural communities through a multi-stakeholder approach in agriculture. His remarks are an opportunity to present our work to date on the Faith, Food and Environment project and the vocation of agricultural leadership in the 21st century.

We believe returning farmers to the center of policy decisions is fundamental to sustainable development in rural communities. The World Farmers Organization makes it clear that governments, businesses, scientists and civil society groups must focus attention on the source of our food security. All these groups must work together to enable the many millions of farm families, especially smallholders, to grow more crops sustainably through effective markets, more collaborative research and committed knowledge sharing.

Not familiar with the World Farmers Organization?

WFO is a community of entrepreneurial farmers from around the world that regardless of their size (small, medium and large- scale farmers) or gender, age and other characteristics, aim to gain global recognition of their rights as food producers and role as economic actors.

Their mission is to represent and advocate on behalf of farmers in global policy arenas and create the conditions for the adoption of policies aimed to improve the economic environment and livelihood of producers, their families, and rural communities. Learn more about WFO here.

It is worth noting that the WFO and their “agropreneur” members (as they call themselves) are striving to work with other stakeholders from around the globe. They do so in order to:

  • foster food system stability;
  • respect the environment;
  • acknowledge the rights of all farmers to be entrepreneurs and gaining appropriate incomes;
  • and respect the farming community’s diversity.

According to their website, WFO constructs their activities upon three main pillars: food security, climate change and a fair value chain. This is in line with the aims of the Faith, Food & Environment project, so we’ll see how we might work more closely with the WFO in reinforcing the role of farmers in policy dialogues at all levels.

This dialogues will include the private and public sectors, various international organizations, local stakeholder groups, nongovernmental organizations, and foundations, universities and research Institutes. We should add faith groups also belong at the table in these discussions — and that indeed is the mission of the Faith, Food & Environment project.