Historic agreement between the Union des producteurs agricole and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
ROME, Italy, Oct. 15, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Today in Rome, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, José Graziano da Silva, and the President of the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), Marcel Groleau, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation. The purpose of this understanding is to implement "common actions with a view to promoting the development of a type of family farming that is efficient, economically viable, socially cohesive, fair and sustainable, structured in professional organizations and integrated into the market."
For the President of the UPA, "this understanding is the culmination of twenty years of cooperation with farmer organizations all over the world. In the course of these twenty years, Québec farmers have built relationships to extend our solidarity beyond our borders - a solidarity developed in their professional organization for over 80 years."
By this Memorandum, the FAO recognizes that global food security depends on the ability of farmers to feed the world and that, to achieve this goal, they need to have fair local, regional and national policies that encourage the development of family farming and the establishment of young farmers to secure generational renewal.
It will be recalled that in its 2008 annual report, the World Bank strongly emphasized that family farming is just as efficient in reducing hunger as industrial agriculture, but that its structuring effects on populations are much more positive. It is the very basis of food security in many countries. "The FAO goes further today by adding that the maintenance and development of family farming depends on well structured professional farmer organizations. Since the UPA has developed expertise and accumulated a wealth of experience in cooperation with the farmer organizations of the Southern countries, it was only natural to sign this first Memorandum of Understanding," added Marcel Groleau.
A new current of thought on food issues is redefining the major parameters of agricultural development around the world and gives us reason to be optimistic about the future. Since the 1980s, we have seen family farming eroded to the benefit of an industrial model, which today has proven its limits. For amny years now, the FAO has recognized the significant role of family farming, supported by structured professional organizations. The near certain failure of the Doha Round and the position adopted by the World Bank in favour of family farming also contribute to this change of direction.
A new page of history is being written today. The Union des producteurs agricoles has been calling for the creation of a Québec secretariat on agricultural specificity for several years to promote an exception for agriculture on the international scene. It is also calling for the restoration of the right of peoples to define their own agricultural and food policy in respect for human rights, and the right of countries to base their national food security on their own territories and resources. The Québec Government's commitment to establish a food sovereignty policy for Québec is consistent with this orientation and we fully endorse it.
"We are at the beginning of something new. Major organizations, such as the World Bank and the FAO, have made a clear move in the direction of sustainable and fair agricultural development, and the Union des producteurs is proud to make an active contribution. The Memorandum of Understanding signed today gives us the legitimacy and the momentum to pursue our action," concluded Marcel Groleau.
About UPA Développement international
Through its corporation UPA Développement international, the Union des producteurs agricoles establishes partnerships with African, Latin American and Asian farmer organizations to strengthen their ability to act collectively for the development of agriculture and the well-being of farm families. This involvement stems from the realization that the future of each farm family is intimately linked with that of millions of other farm families throughout the world. The liberalization of world trade is a source of increasing pressure on agriculture in both the South and the North. In this context, the sustainable development of agriculture can only take place by globalizing farmer solidarity.
SOURCE: UNION DES PRODUCTEURS AGRICOLESFor further information:
Union des producteurs agricoles
Telephone: 450 679-0540, extension 8235
Public Affairs Advisor
Union des producteurs agricoles
Telephone: 450 679-0540, extension 8591