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On Tuesday afternoon, 70 farmers' leaders from around the world, representing millions of smallholders and rural producers from all over the world concluded their work at the third global meeting of the Farmers' Forum.

In their synthesis of deliberations they reiteriated the fact that since the last Farmers’ Forum, the world has experienced multiple crises, exacerbated by the global recession and climate change and as a result more people are poor and hungry.

They acknowledged the significance of family agriculture in the world and pledged to campaign for a UN Declaration for International Year of Family Farming.

The farmers indicated that they want agriculture to be controlled by them, the VERY people who cultivate the land and are feeding the world.

In sharing the summary of their deliberations with IFAD's 33rd Governing Council, they indicated there is no effective response to the challenges of food security for all, eradication of extreme poverty and mitigation of climate change without more and better investment in farms and rural communities and more supportive policies for rural development.

They commended IFAD for forging a strong partnership with Farmers’ Organizations and embedding them in Country Programmes. They told IFAD's membership that they highly appreciated the real progress in the consultation and partnership between IFAD, governments and farmer organizations.

They made the following recommendations to IFAD:

  • Extend the partnership to all countries where IFAD is operating, taking into account the diversity of the organizations of poor rural people.
  • Systematically include at least one national apex organization in the IFAD Country Programme Management Team in order to contribute to the steering of the IFAD country programme (COSOP formulation, project and programme design and implementation, policy dialogue and other initiatives).
  • Create a flexible, demand-led facility within IFAD’s budget for facilitating the participation of farmers’ organizations in the COSOP and the project cycle.
  • Develop operational guidelines to support the systematic engagement of farmers’ organizations at country level; in particular in the monitoring and implementation of IFAD programmes.
  • Ensure that the already strong practice of consultation with farmers’ organizations is systematized; in this regard, IFAD and regional/international farmers’ organizations could maintain a roster of organizations that should be systematically invited when IFAD is about to embark on project design.
  • Take stock of important lessons from programmes with farmers’ organizations, with a view to replication and upscaling, and to promote south-south exchanges and knowledge among the farmers. (In this regard, we recommend exploring the possibility replicating the programme ‘Learning Routes’, which was successfully implemented in Latin America.)

Last but not least, both farmer leaders and IFAD President stressed the importance of investing in young farmers. Farmer leaders recommended that IFAD:

  • Map young farmer and rural youth organizations and their networks (national and regional).
  • Hold a Farmers’ Forum event similar to the one held for women this year, and ensure more representation of young people in subsequent Farmers’ Forums.
  • Designate within IFAD a focal point for youth.
  • Hold a global workshop on youth involvement in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development during this year (UN Year of Youth ).
  • Mainstream youth in all IFAD policies and programmes, with a gender balance and an emphasis on developing capacity-building and enhancement programmes for rural youth to engage in sustainable food production and agriculture and rural employment.
  • Launch pilot projects supporting rural youth.
  • Organize youth exchanges for experience-sharing on best practices and learning.

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