New report: Put smallholder farmers at the heart of #FoodSystems!

Smallholder farmers are key for transforming our food systems, and ultimately achieve all the Sustainable Development Goals. But they don’t have the resources to do so, a new report from Vi Agroforestry and We Effect shows.

“Smallholder farmers around the world are key to fighting Covid, hunger and climate crisis – they deserve and need stronger support,” Anna Tibblin, Secretary General for Vi Agroforestry and We Effect points out.

The new report, which is published ahead of the historic UN Food Systems Summit on September 23rd, 2021, outlines that transforming how food is produced and consumed is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and recover from Covid-19.

Farmer Jamia Salimo at the cover of the report “Fair Food for All!” Photo: Edson Artur

The report “Fair Food for All!” shows that governments need to increase long-term development funding to agriculture. Smallholder farmers, sustainable food production and gender equality should be integrated in all actions.

“Decision-makers need to recognize food for what it is: a human right. To demand their rights, smallholder farmers, especially women, need greater support to increase their production, transfer to sustainable agriculture and have access to markets” Anna Tibblin emphasizes.

The report also showcases that food prices and the low amount of self-sufficiency hinders development in many low-income countries. For example, the report finds that people in Tanzania spend over 60 percent of their income on food; the corresponding figure for Sweden and Europe is 12-13 percent.

The concentration of power in the food systems is among the largest in the world. 4–5 multinational companies dominate and have the power to control political processes and move production. Ahead of the Food Systems Summit, Vi Agroforestry and We Effect have  joined forces to encourage Sweden as well as Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Sri Lanka to put the right to food at top of the agenda in the Summit and ensure civil society gets to sit at the table.

In Tanzania, a large number of local farmers’, women’s and youth organizations gathered to communicate their positions to Tanzania’s government delegation to the Summit. In sum, they recommended “that agro-ecology be officially recognized as a proper and safe system for production that guarantees food sovereignty and food security in a sustainable manner. Read their full list of recommendations here.

In Sweden, Vi Agroforestry and We Effect have been most active in consultations prior to the Food Systems Summit, feeding in our thoughts, concerns and recommendations to the official Swedish delegation. We are glad that our Secretary General Anna Tibblin will take place in this delegation, and we hope to se a Summit that truly places human rights and smallholder farmers at the heart of #FoodSystems!

Read the report “Fair Food for All!” here.

Learn more about the Food Systems Summit here.