FAO.org

Home > Partnerships > Cooperatives and Producer Organizations > News > news article
Cooperatives and Producer Organizations

Working with farmers for a better nutrition


The Second Conference “Seeding Nutrition Harvesting Health” organized by the World Farmers’ Organization took place in FAO Headquarters

27/11/2015 - 

27 November 2015, Rome. The Second Conference “Seeding Nutrition Harvesting Health” organized by the World Farmers’ Organization took place yesterday in FAO Headquarters. The conference focused on the role of farmers to ensure better nutrition and the importance of education in nutrition for youth and the future generations.

Farmers’ role in nutrition

“Farmers are the stewards of biodiversity. They play a critical and catalytical role to provide food resources for the planet. However, their role is often underestimated,” stated Marco Marzano de Marinis, Secretary-General of the World Farmers’ Organization (WFO) during his opening of the Conference.

Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Director General and Coordinator for Economic and Social Development and opening panelist highlighted the fact that farmers have a deep understanding of weather, climate, seasons and the soils “They are equipped with knowledge to advice for healthy and nutritious diets”, he said.

This important event also had the participation of Andrea Olivero, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Agriculture for Food and Forest Policy of Italy, who took this opportunity to emphasize the need to respect the diversity of production systems in the world to guarantee the Right to Food, as well as to preserve biodiversity for a balanced diet. “Healthy nutrition comes out of the combination of several factors of which farmers, who are strategic to succeed”, noted Olivero.

Momentum

This Conference continues the great momentum to pay attention to nutrition as a result of recent achievements such as the outcome documents (Rome Declaration and Framework for Action) issued from the Second International Conference in Nutrition last year, the Carta di Milano from the Expo Milan 2015, and the growing support for the Brazilian proposal of a “Decade for Action” in nutrition (2016-2025).

“We are living in a very exciting time thanks to the global commitment and understanding of nutrition and its relation to food systems”, said Sundaram. FAO Assistant Director General and Coordinator for Economic and Social Development was “pleased to see what World Farmers’ Organization has done to improve human condition through better nutrition”. WFO thanked FAO for “its continuous support since the inception of the organization”.

The Secretary-General of the World Farmers’ Organization recalled that in order to make the most out of this momentum multistakeholder platforms and knowledge sharing are key to address the issue of food security. “The role of farmers today “in decision making fora is not fully recognized yet,” added Marzano de Marinis.

Malnutrition

This Conference presented various relevant facts, summarizing malnutrition into three different categories: hunger, which affects almost 800 million people meaning lack of sufficient dietary energy, basic for an active life; hidden hunger, the micronutrient deficiency (vitamins, minerals, etc.) that affects over 2 billion people in the world; and overweight, “the fastest growing challenge we face now in diet-related and non-communicable diseases,” according to Sundaram, which has increased 15% in the last seven years.

Youth

To face this complex issues, World Farmers’ Organization involved a young audience in the Conference. “Youth is the future. We need to make them aware of the risk related to inadequate diets as well as the crucial role of farmers.” said Marzano de Marinis. He also point out that “in Europe, only 6% of the farmers are under 35 years old”, which poses a threat to healthy nutrition for future generations.