Below is the statement delivered by the World Farmers Organisation at the UN High Level Thematic Debate on Reducing Vulnerabilities, responding to emergencies, and enhancing food security in the LDCs (least developed countries).
My name is Charles Ogang, President of the Ugandan Farmers Federation and a representative of the World Farmers Organisation.
Agriculture is central to development, poverty reduction and food security. Farmers must be returned to the centre of policy discussions on food security and sustainable development as we are the first step in addressing food security. Unfortunately, too many of the world’s hungry are also farmers. We must be at the table for discussions to address the vulnerabilities faced in LDCs.
As a farmer in an LDC, I would like to highlight some key steps related to increasing food security and increasing resilience in LDCs :
a) A holistic approach is needed that covers farm production from start through to market
b) Agricultural research and extension services are essential and need more support to help farmers adapt to drought desertification, flood and climate change
c) Smallholder farmers must be empowered to strengthen their productivity, sustainability and resilience. This includes land tenure rights for farmers, particularly women and support for farmer organisations.
d) Post harvest losses are as high as 40% in some areas. Losses must be minimized through increased access to storage, improved infrastructure, better local collection systems to ensure more food gets to mouths that need it.
e) Resilience of farmers must increased through safety nets, crop and herd insurance, secure banking.
f) The Maputo commitments of 10% of government expenditures to agriculture in African countries is an important step toward food security in the region.
We can spend money on food aid, but long term we must focus on the issues of food security which demands greater food production in LDCs. I ask the panelists, how can we better link agriculture to food security?