Director-General  QU Dongyu

FAO Director-General participates in the inaugural General Assembly of the World Farmers Markets Coalition


Rome - Farmers’ markets can play an active role and contribute to agrifood systems transformation, the FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, highlighted on Monday during the inaugural session of the first World Farmers Markets Coalition’s General Assembly.

During the event, held a Palazzo Rospigliosi in Rome, Qu underscored how despite the limited access of small-scale farms to profitable markets, in recent years, localized and transparent food supply chains, such as farmers' markets, have shown potential in creating inclusive, ethical, healthy, and sustainable agrifood systems.

The Director-General explained that farmers' markets, along with territorial markets, can generate off-farm income opportunities for rural communities, especially women and youth, while reducing transaction costs, increasing bargaining power, and preserving crop biodiversity.

“Farmers’ markets can play an active role and can contribute to agrifood systems transformation by enhancing inclusivity; promoting healthy diets; increasing local production; supporting territorial and landscape development; encouraging collective action and collective economic operations; ensuring efficient governance; and fostering innovation’’, he underscored.

Qu added that these kinds of markets can also enhance food safety, mitigate food loss, promote environmental sustainability, and preserve local identity and food heritage.

‘’It is crucial to promote farmers’ markets’ practices that advance the inclusion of vulnerable communities and facilitate their full participation’’, the Director-General urged.

Qu expressed FAO’s commitment to supporting the World Farmers Markets Coalition in line with the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31 in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and to achieve the Four Betters: better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life for all, leaving no one behind.

The Coalition— a Rome-based non-governmental organisationdevoted to cultivating a community of practice for farmers’markets to benefit farmers, consumers, and communities – was launched in July 2021 during the Food Systems Pre-Summit in Rome and is one of ten projects selected under the FAO-led Food Coalition Programme.

The two-day General Assembly held on May 21-22, led by Fondazione Campagna Amica, one of the Coalition’s founding members, and Federazione Coldiretti, is the first international in-person meeting with representatives from farmers markets around the world. It currently has members in over 50 countries representing more than 20,000 markets; 60 associations; 200,000 farming families; and over 300 million consumers.

Before closing his speech, the Director-General conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the people and government of Italy for the loss of lives due to the floods in the Emilia-Romagna region. 

“This extreme weather event has once again highlighted the fragility of our countryside and the livelihoods of people’’, he said.