The NGO Major Group would like to highlight some very important Priorities for Action in Agriculture:
Agroecological approaches to food production, such as organic agriculture, sustainable livestock production and diversified production, should be promoted coupled with the creation and expansion of local or regional infrastructures, markets and networks that benefit smallholders.
The successes of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in many parts of Asia, the model set by Tigray in Ethiopia and hundreds of other well-documented experiences in agro-ecology are living testimonies of the actual contributions of this approach in ensuring food security, alleviating poverty, conserving biodiversity and tackling climate change. Agroecology may not provide a solution to all problems in agriculture, but it presents a viable and available approach that is accessible to farmers, locally-appropriate and environmentally sustainable.
The important role played by livestock in integrated agricultural development should be recognized and promoted. There should be increased consideration of animal welfare to improve and safeguard food security, human health and social development.
It is essential to recognize the value of traditional and local knowledge and community-based practices, which are invaluable for climate change adaptation, should be promoted.
The promotion of local knowledge systems, locally-appropriate practices and environmentally sustainable technologies is one of the many valuable recommendations of the IAASTD that was adopted in June 2008 by many countries that are also represented here at the CSD.
Technology transfer that uses appropriate and indigenous knowledge systems along with modern ecological science, and involves shared ownership and control, and comprehensive multi-stakeholder assessment of desirability should be supported. Conversely, technologies that pose adverse impacts to the environment, biodiversity and human health, and undermine agro-ecological practices should be phased out.
Incentives should be offered for small-scale producers to provide ecosystem services and protect biodiversity. Access of small-scale producers, communities and grass-roots organizations to support services and infrastructures such as credit, markets and information should be facilitated.
Farmers Rights in the ITPGRFA covers the right of farmers to these basic services. Recognizing, rewarding and incentivizing small-scale producers for their contributions in ensuring food security in rural and urban areas, conserving biodiversity and climate change mitigation and adaptation, will significantly contribute in addressing serious social and economic problems such as farmer suicides, massive migration to urban areas, dependence on food importation, etc.
Importance of raising awareness and educating among farmers and consumers on support for local food production, fair trade, and sustainable consumption. Consumer education is key to establishing rural-urban linkages in food production and marketing systems.
Support the call of developing countries to eliminate trade-distorting agricultural subsidies in developed countries, as well as the conditionalities imposed by international financial institutions. The obstacles to agricultural development of developing countries posed by bilateral and regional free trade agreements and economic partnership agreements should be seriously addressed.