Secretary General, World Farmers’ Organisation
Farmer-centric, systemic innovation can generate a tremendous impact on the sustainability of our planet, providing new options for resilient and thriving food systems, in the interest of humankind.
These are times of significant challenges and great concerns. The conflict in Ukraine, in all its dimensions, arrives at a time when the world is already severely affected by the combination of climate emergency, food insecurity and the two-year COVID-19 pandemic.
Farming has stood out as a central piece of crisis responses, regaining a prominent role in the global strategies both in the global South and global North. Farmers have proved to be crucial actors in tackling present and future challenges, particularly regarding the sustainable transformation of food systems.
Innovation as a way for farmers to achieve sustainability
Innovation in agriculture is a fundamental process that goes beyond technology and embraces business models, social inclusion, ecosystem services and agricultural practices.
It should serve as a way for farmers to improve their production patterns and support them in achieving sustainability in its three dimensions, i.e., environmental, social and economic.
Far from being a one-size-fits-all solution, innovation is fundamental to enhancing farmers’ incredible diversity, valuing their unique knowledge and specific needs. We have to invest in impactful innovation that is not homologating.
Farmers have proved to be crucial actors in tackling present and future challenges, particularly regarding the sustainable transformation of food systems.
Recognising farmers as co-creators of process
In a food systems dimension, fostering innovation in agriculture means recognising farmers’ identity and shifting to a value chain approach, with a spirit of authentic partnership, collaborating as economic actors in a system.
That implies first, recognising farmers as co-creators of the innovation process. Second, creating bridges between farmers and the other actors, from academia to consumers. And third, shaping a conducive policy environment that allows all farmers, youth and women to be “agripreneurs” and drive their communities’ economic and social growth, while caring about our people and planet.
It is time to stand by farmers
The impacts of the current crisis on the farming activity, suffering from disruptions in the world markets and the food emergency that is threatening, remind us how urgent it is to accelerate innovation to unlock the ability of agriculture to withstand and the capacity of farmers to recover from shocks.
At the World Farmers’ Organisation, we believe that farmer-centric, systemic innovation can generate a tremendous impact on the sustainability of our planet, providing new options for resilient and thriving food systems.
We call on all policy makers, stakeholders and financial institutions to stand by the farmers and work together to unlock this potential now.