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APNFS BROCHURE

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          the APNFS Brochure


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APNFS CALL TO ACTION THIS WORLD FOOD DAY 2014 

Rationale

The Asia Pacific Network for Food Sovereignty (APNFS) joins the global population of farmers, fisherfolks and other communities of diverse people in remembering October 16 as World Food Day which this year recognizes the full potential of family farming as a flourishing cultural heritage in achieving global food security.

The theme of World Food Day 2014-“Family Farming- Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth” is a  strong pronouncement to promote and protect family farmers who constitute over 500 million and have the significant role in feeding the world in the most efficient way while maintain the ecological balance of land and resources. The achievement of family farms throughout the generations has even proven its worth in the midst of intensifying hunger, malnutrition, poverty and inequality that are being compounded with factors such as climate change risks and environmental degradation.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stressed that family farming that is being operated and managed by a family, is an approach of organizing agricultural, forestry, fisheries, pastoral and aquaculture production that is predominantly reliant on family labour with significant involvement of both women and men.

The APNFS agrees with FAO that family farming is inextricably linked to national and global food security because as traditionally practised, family farmers carefully manage their lands with innovative land management techniques to sustain remarkably high levels of productivity despite having limited access to resources. Family farmers also act as custodians of food products while contributing to a balanced diet and safeguarding the world’s agro-biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources. Human civilization can testify that family farmers have achieved their superiority by maintaining this agricultural heritage in many successful ways.

The world has witnessed this through the paddy farmers and fishers of Mekong River, a transboundary river from China to Southeast Asia that is one of the world’s most diverse fisheries; through the thriving small fishing villages of Bangladesh which boast of successful climate change adaption initiatives in fishing while protecting the Sundarbans, the world‘s largest single block of mangrove forest; and through the varied organic farming technologies based on science and local knowledge of farmer communities in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

Family farmers work on 85 percent of farming land in Asia. In this case, family farms remain the main source of rice production in this region. The traditional rice-fish systems and modern adaptations of these systems result to increased yields of rice along with fish production.

To strengthen this heritage at the national level, family farmers need to have wider access to land and natural resources, technology and extension services including specialized education and finance. Policy interventions that support sustainability of family farmers must be established.

The Roadmap in Achieving Food Sovereignty in Asia Pacific with the Leadership of Family Farmers


1.    Prioritize national land reform programs


The equalizing effect of land redistribution is a necessary foundation for the transformation of small farmers to become leaders in agricultural growth and rural development, eventually increasing domestic demand (consumption), and consequently triggering agricultural industrialization.

National land reform programs should also aim at strengthening economic and political associations of farmers as the lead organization in rural development.

2.    Stop trade liberalization

There should be a review of existing trade policy regime for agriculture and a pause on trade liberalization commitments to the WTO, AFTA, ASEAN Economic Integration and other free trade agreements.

Stringent regional guidelines on investments, especially foreign investments must be formulated to stop resource grabbing and to regulate investments that are creating massive social and environmental externalities.

3.    Develop sustainable agriculture, agricultural technologies and mechanization

Global food security hinged on national food sovereignty is a framework for action to end the widespread marginalization of farmers-producers.
Governments of Asia Pacific should support the development of sustainable agriculture practices that is centered on the welfare of family farmers. Sustainable agriculture is and still the viable solution to the swelling problem of global food crisis.

Support services- irrigation, infrastructure development, agri technologies
With asset reform and the right support incentives and policy governance, small farmers can be the leaders in agricultural development for they use their resources more efficiently. There is a need to optimize the research and development (R&D) in agriculture development by propagating and increasing agricultural knowledge, science and technology towards agro-ecological sciences which actually contributes to addressing environmental issues while maintaining and increasing productivity.

Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization

The function of sustainable agricultural mechanization is to empower the marginalized agricultural communities. Machineries must ensure both environmental balance and protection of the food production systems.

The over-all goal of using agricultural machineries is to increase participation of farmers that will contribute to their empowerment by improving their labor productivity, farm labor condition, economic capacity, and well-being. It should also encourage younger generations to engage in sustainable farming. As an initial strategic action, government should conduct local and community-level consultations with active participation of smallholder farmers/ family farmers as technology users and must ensure the meaningful participation of women farmers.

4.    Protect natural resources to enable sustainability of smallholder farmers

Development projects including those with the involvement of foreign investments that will rather harm or have already caused harm to the agricultural sustainability of farmers and fisherfolks must be stopped. These include large scale hydropower dams and other infrastructure projects, reforestation programs, land investments, corporate plantations and mining operations that have not contributed to the holistic growth of marginalized people in Asia but instead deprived them of their access and control of resources that are rightfully theirs.


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Data from: APNFS Recommendations on SAM to FAO and UN-CSAM, June 2014; Food and Agriculture Organization; Rene Ofreneo: “Rebuilding a Damage Agricultural Sector”, 2014; Rene Ofreneo: Draft Notes- “Subverting Reform by Raising Wrong Development Policy Choices”, 10 October 2008

 

Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development 

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