On 26-27 January 2009 a forum on the food crisis was held in Madrid. World Bank, IMF and WTO debated on how to intervene to stop the crisis and give farmers the means to control their agriculture. However, some questions were asked about the validity of such an event – can one talk about farmers without them being in the debate? Grain.org was vocal in this questioning. See their write up on the event: GRAIN talked about how representatives of small farmers, who they say produce 80% of the world’s food, did not seem to have been given much space, only a few minutes on the floor to give their position.
(Thanks to Francesca Re Manning from CAS-IP for the posting.)
As a summary of the discussion you can view the final statement of the event by clicking here. Among the 12 point summary they talk about next steps after this meeing and they do clearly specify:
“The consultations should be open to the full range of stakeholdersinvolved in agriculture, food security and nutrition (including farmers’ organizations, civil society organizations, women’s organizations, private sector, developing country governments,and both regional and international organisations)”
This was a high level meeting. Presumably it would be tough deciding to which small farmers one would give space in a such an agenda. Is it naive to hope that the government ministers are there to represent their own country’s interests?
Of course, the devil is in the detail, and exactly how these high-brow commitments will roll out and translate into meaningful impact will be of more interest to us, as well as the small farmers in the 126 nations represented. For more information on the wider initiative of this meeting visit http://www.un.org/issues/food/taskforce/