Virtual events held in 2021 to boost up UNDFF implementation in the region

2022-01-28 Asia

Author: Irish Baguilat, Coordinator for the UNDFF and Women Farmers' Agenda of AFA
Source: Asian Farmers' Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA)
Published: 6 January 2022

The pandemic and its consequences have had a huge impact on the livelihoods and welfare of small-scale family farmers. As expressed and observed, the disruptions within supply chains have widened the challenges confronting small-scale farmers and are partly because many farmers don’t have full control and access to productive resources, financial services, and affordable technologies among others. Farmers expressed that farm inputs were not readily available and accessible due to movement restrictions and requirements, thus, they were unable to plant on time. With conventional markets not functioning, their earnings have diminished in 2020-2021 and many were unable to pay their loans. While there are challenges, there are also innovative solutions that emerged. Farmers’ organizations that have started product consolidation and have access to digital technologies were able to devise ways to cope with the challenging times. Agricultural cooperatives were able to facilitate market access and were able to extend services to their members.

As development efforts are now focused on building back better, it is crucial to consider the many lessons from the ongoing pandemic. The Food Systems Summit in September 2021 was well-timed as it has elevated the discussions about the current food systems worldwide that are problematic. At the same time, the declaration of the UN Decade of Family Farming (UNDFF) has offered useful mechanisms that can be used in transforming food systems that support the welfare of small-scale family farmers (visit for more information). As expressed during the Young Farmers’ Round Table Discussion, the UNDFF processes can promote the effective and meaningful participation of young farmers in the food systems transformation planning and implementation.

In 2021, AFA had co-organized and supported several global and regional events were held in support of UNDFF. Important messages were generated and will be used in the advocacy activities and exchanges.

On 4-5 October 2021, the Food and Agriculture Organization organized the Young Farmers’ Roundtable – For the support of youth and the generational sustainability of family farming (UNDFF) with support from the World Rural Forum (WFR), La Via Campesina (LVC), World Farmers’ Organization (WFO), Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA), Confederación de Organizaciones de Productores Familiares del Mercosur Ampliado (COPROFAM), European Coordination of La Via Campesina (ECVC), the Network of Farmers Organizations and Agricultural Producers of West Africa (ROPPA), Pacific Island Farmers Organization Network (PIFON) and to the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC). Call to actions include:

  • There is an urgent need to invest in organizing for a more institutionalized way of working together.
  • It is important to continue the capacity development and mentoring/coaching programs for young farmers – e.g. on sustainable agricultural practices, such as agroecology, on sustainable business models, value chains and markets, and on cooperatives to sell together, on the use and dissemination of inclusive technologies and digital tools. Other aspects of capacity development needs of youth are to strengthen their leadership roles, to learn to apply international instruments (e.g., UNDROP) and lessons from already existing conducive policies for young farmers, to know how to be a better position in the policy dialogue and to better communicate the kinds of solutions, which youth desire.
  • There is a need to reinforce the capacities of young farmers and guarantee their meaningful participation in the elaboration and implementation of National Action Plans and other policies in the framework of the UNDFF Young farmers highlighted the need to continue exchanges, like the dialogues held in the frame of the YFRT: it is very relevant to strengthen dialogue and exchange among young family farmers and contribute to greater collaboration and coordination in favor of rural youth in the framework of the UNDFF 2019-2028.

AFA supported the two-day event organized by the World Rural Forum, titled UNDFF ACTION PLANS: A Pathway for Food Systems Transformation in Asia and Strengthening Family Farming Platforms in Asia, held on 6-7 October 2021 respectively. AFA shared the various regional initiatives to support the UNDFF implementation. Key messages shared include:

  • Family farming national platforms such as the National Committee of Family Farming (NCFF) can be used to bring together farmers and fishers and an avenue to tackle the different issues confronting farmers and fishers. Family farming issues should be tackled at various levels, from national to local.
  • It is necessary to have a solid group of people and champions within national agencies who will push for the UNDFF implementation and development of a national action plan for family farming. Awareness-raising can be a priority activity. Media groups are good partners in awareness-raising among public officials and the wider public, which is essential in countries where the political situation is unfavorable. A concrete advocacy plan, backed by evidence, is needed for advocacy work. It can also lead to recognition of the roles and contributions of family farmers.

AFA also took part during the GLOBAL CONFERENCE: Family Farming at the core of Sustainable Food Systems was organized by WRF on 22-26 November 2021. The conference aimed at scaling up the implementation of UNDFF and further rallying support from stakeholders. The week-long event was subdivided into several themes such as –  sustainable production, rural youth, inclusive value chains, and market access, women’s leadership, public policies, land tenure rights, communications, and indigenous peoples. More information is available at

On 7 December 2021, AFA co-organized an event with AR Now and ILC Asia to present the seven (7) case studies that were produced through the regional project “Making Family Farms Secure, Sustainable and Viable in Asia”. Seven case studies were presented by seven (7) national partners. The focus was on local innovation of small-scale farmers around sustainable, agroecological agricultural practices, processing and marketing of safe and nutritious food, and gender-sensitive approaches. Strategies and lessons from the case studies are essential in existing and future livelihood recovery programs. A synthesis report will be produced out of this exchange.

Since its declaration in 2019, the implementation of UNDFF is seen as one of the mechanisms that will accelerate the achievement of SDGs. AFA is committed to building capacities of farmers’ organizations and will continue to push for actions around the seven pillars of the UNDFF Global Action Plan. AFA supported the development of the South Asia Regional Action Plan launched in July 2021. The Regional Plan aims to support member states as they localize and implement the Global Action Plan.

Read the full article and access recordings and more on the AFA website here.

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