11 February 2020, Rome, Italy – “As farmers, we live very close to nature, closer than anyone else in the world. We are the ones who work with the sun or rain, snow or wind. We are the most threatened by natural disasters and fires. For centuries we have adapted to climate change, and we have tried to mitigate it. But never such changes have been so frequent and powerful as today, destroying our farms and our beloved land. We, farmers of the world, frustrated by hearing someone else speaking on our behalf on agriculture and climate change, decided to take the matters into our own hands and open up to all global and regional farmers’ associations and the international bodies of the whole value chain a farmers driven alliance that we named the “Climakers.” With these words, the WFO President, Theo de Jager, opened a special Climakers Farmers’ session hosted today by WFO in the framework of the 7th Global Meeting of IFAD Farmers’ Forum (FAFO 2020).
As a gathering of farmers, the WFO side event brought together the farmers’ representatives of the Climakers Alliance, who told the compelling stories and experiences of the farmers of the world in tackling climate change.
The event provided an excellent occasion to officially welcome the Pan African Farmers’ Organization (PAFO) into the Farmers Driven Climate Change Alliance.
Elizabeth Nsimadala, President of PAFO and the WFO President Theo De Jager, signed today an agreement that formalizes PAFO commitment in enhancing and promoting the perspective of farmers in all the processes related to climate change, within the Climakers initiative.
“Climate Change is a real Crisis in Africa that requires more and more effort from the Farmers’ Organisations,” she said, reminding the audience that PAFO represents more than 80 million small scale producers through the five regional platforms of EAFF, PROPAC, ROPPA, SACAU, UMNAGRI.
“We can no longer afford to do small projects to fight climate change. We need big ambitions and a coordinated approach” highlighted Ishmael Sunga, Executive Director of the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU).
Stephen Muchiri, CEO of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF), focused on the role that technology can play in this challenge, presenting the Eastern African initiatives like E-Granary, which aims to ensure credit and market access and use of Good Agricultural Practice (GAPS) by farmers.
As the representative of the Union Maghrébine et Nord-Africaine des Agriculteurs (UMNAGRI), Abdelmajid Ezzar, highlighted the importance to join the Climakers Alliance to get the farmers’ voice heard in the global political debate on agriculture and climate change.
The perspective of the Caribbean and European farmers was shared by Errington Thompson, President of the Agriculture Alliance of the Caribbean (AACARI) and Jannes Maes, President of the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA).
They presented the key outcomes of the two first regional consultations held in the Caribbean and Europe in 2019, giving voice to the needs and solutions of the farmers from those regions.
Jannes Maes brought into the debate the key issue of the access to funds to implement those innovations that are required to improve farmers’ performance in sequestering carbon.
The event was the occasion for a forward-looking and constructive exchange among all the farmers’ leaders attending FAFO 2020 on how farmers can drive the change in the global political debate on agriculture and climate change, based on their practical experience on the field, with participants from Central and Latin America, Asia and the Pacific, Africa and Europe.
The Farmers Driven Climate Change Agenda is very ambitious, and its success depends on the Climakers Alliance, a unique on-going process of dialogue and consultation to make the fight against climate change effective, in the long run.
The Climakers are the members of the Farmers Driven Climate Change Alliance, namely the farmers of the world, who are leading this initiative and other stakeholders – including the private sector, civil society, research centres, multilateral organizations – that are committed to providing bottom-up, pragmatic and successful solutions to climate change.