In a statement, leaders and members of the Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) strongly emphasized the role Asian family farmers have taken as frontlines and key actors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the 27 countries covered by AFA members and their partners, partial or total lockdowns continue to adversely affect not only public health but also economic food and nutrition security, and peace and order— showing that the challenges brought by COVID-19 are multidimensional.
Asian FFO initiatives
As early as March and at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, AFA has documented family farmer initiatives and responses to the challenges at this time.
This June in Myanmar, the Agriculture and Farmer Federation of Myanmar (AFFM) initiated to directly sell the products of their farmer members to urban consumers of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM).
In the Philippines, PANAW Sumilao, a local agricoop and member of Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA) allocated a portion of their community development fund to provide food aid to 900 households in their local community.
In a presentation to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Esther Penunia AFA Secretary-General emphasized that “Family farmers are frontliners, too, especially in the work to build the body’s resilience and resistance to COVID-19 through healthy and nutritious food.”
AFA sees the UN Decade of Family Farming (2019-2028) as a key instrument to build more resilient and sustainable food systems post-COVID-19—an instrument that needs to put family farmers front and center.
As a member of the World CSO Coordinating Committee (WCC) and International Steering Committee (ISC) of the UNDFF, AFA strongly supports the statement of the WCC and recognizes the “UNDFF [as a concrete] and consensus instrument of great importance for defining comprehensive policies in support of family farming and offers a framework of collaboration facilitating the implementation of these policies”
AFA joins the call of the World CSO Coordination Committee and urges “governments, agencies, and institutions of the United Nations, international and bilateral cooperation institutions the International Steering Committee of the UNDFF, its secretariat and other interested parties to
“(1) Involve family farmers, their organizations and National Committees of Family Farming … in achieving the Global Action Plan of the UNDFF and the SDGs, (2) offer strong, decisive and the highest level of support to family farmers and their cooperatives and organizations that support them (3) allocate necessary resources to accelerate the implementation of the UNDFF, (4) maintain and reinforce continuous dialogue with family farmers’ organizations and the NCFF.“
For more information on the United Nations Decade of Family Farming, visit https://www.familyfarmingcampaign.org/en/
MARIA FHEBIE ORTIL