027 Boosting the role of farmers in fairer and more sustainable value chains

How short supply chains, value chain contracts and origin labelling can ensure more value added for farmers to support food security

Organizers

  • World Farmers' Organisation, WFO
  • Government of Italy

Abstract

Sustainability and food security are just two of the main challenges we are facing today at the global level, with a great impact on vulnerable groups including food producers. Furthermore, the integration of farmers into food value chains is being jeopardized by an increasing concentration along global supply chains and the exposure to global competitive markets. Farmers, especially small-scale ones in developing countries, face different barriers in accessing the market that reduce their bargaining power over large suppliers, buyers and retailers, leading to a decrease in their incomes and decision-making power. However, this trend could be reversed by changing the way we refer to food: not as a commodity but as a valuable product. Stronger relationships can be built between food production and consumption and among value chain actors, developing different networks of distribution and exchange. The use of ICT in agriculture, initiatives focused on origins of products as well as the promotion of local markets, can help farmers to maximize their incomes and strengthen their position along the food value chain, while at the same time contributing to sustainability, conservation of biodiversity and increase in the food production. Value chain contracts among all the different actors of the value chain (from producers to retailers) can contribute to reinforce the bargaining power of farmers, also through the support of farmers' organizations, promoting fair trade practices and prices. A stronger cooperation is needed between public and private sector to engage all the different stakeholders that can contribute to the achievement of more sustainable food systems and value chains, thus improving farmers’ working and earning conditions. Thinking local and promoting fair trade practices can bring concrete solutions to global challenges contributing to achieve global food security and sustainability.

Key speakers/presenters

  • BRENDA TLHABANE, Farmer, African Farmers Association of South Africa, AFASA, South Africa
  • VERONICA BARBATI, Farmer, Fondazione Campagna Amica - Coldiretti, Italy
  • EMILIE VANDECANDELAERE, Agribusiness and quality officer, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, FAO, Italy
  • GAETANA PETRICCIONE, Senior Researcher, Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, CREA, Italy
  • ROSSELLA CARDONE, Head of Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility, Market Area Europe and Latin America, Ericsson, Sweden
  • VICTORIA HATTON, Senior Policy Analyst, Ministry for Primary Industries and Representative of the Global Research Alliance on Greenhouse Gases, GRA, New Zealand

Moderator

  • SARAH CROFOOT, Sheep and Beef farmer, New Zealand

Main themes/issues discussed

 

Sustainability and food security are just two of the main challenges we are facing today at the global level, with a great impact on vulnerable groups including food producers.

Furthermore, the integration of farmers into food value chains is being jeopardized by an increasing concentration along global supply chains and the exposure to global competitive markets. Farmers, especially small-scale ones in developing countries, face different barriers in accessing the market that reduce their bargaining power over large suppliers, buyers and retailers, leading to a decrease in their incomes and decision-making power.

The discussion focused on how these trends could be reversed, for example by changing the way we refer to food: not as a commodity but as a valuable product, as well as by building stronger relationships between food production and consumption and among value chain actors, developing different networks of distribution and exchange.

The speakers also discussed about the use of ICT in agriculture, the initiatives focused on origins of products as well as the promotion of local markets, things that can help farmers to maximize their incomes and strengthen their position along the food value chain, while at the same time contributing to sustainability, conservation of biodiversity and increase in the food production. The debate also focused on the need of a stronger cooperation between public and private sector to engage all the different stakeholders who can contribute to the achievement of more sustainable food systems and value chains, thus improving farmers’ working and earning conditions.  Thinking local and promoting fair trade practices can bring concrete solutions to global challenges, thus contributing to achieve global food security and sustainability.

Summary of key points

The side event featured the participation of a wide range of stakeholders from different sectors. The importance of local markets and short value chains was highlighted, as well as the role of farmers’ organizations in facilitating farmers’ access to the market. The role of innovation and digital solutions was also discussed, with a specific reference to the relevance of precision farming and the benefits it can create in terms of sustainability. Challenges from the farmers’ perspectives were highlighted too, as very often farmers do not have access to adequate technologies and even when they do, there is a lack of capacity building for them to understand how to maximize the use of such technologies and adapt them to their needs.

Key take away messages

  • Strengthening local markets and actors as a solution to tackle global challenges like food security
  • The importance of ITC as tools to improve sustainable production and farmers’ incomes
  • Need for a stronger cooperation between different sectors to empower farmers, improve their working and living conditions and build more integrated and holistic approaches to achieve more sustainable food systems and value chains, thus contributing to global food security
CFS 45 - Side Event 27: Boosting the role of farmers in fairer and more sustainable value chains