“Feeding the World 2015” is an excellent vehicle for promoting critical dialogue about the implications of the tremendous increase in food demand and changing food patterns, a topic that deserves increased public attention here in the U.S. and abroad, said Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union (NFU) president. The Economist Feeding the World summit was held yesterday in Amsterdam.
“NFU has been heavily engaged for decades with coalitions, panel participation and through other means to increase food production in the developing world and make access to credit and opportunity available to women, who produce the lion’s share of the world’s food supply,” said Johnson.
Johnson noted that the conference is holding seminars discussing human factors, ranging from supply chains, nutrition and Western food waste, to geographical and environmental influences like climate change and water supply. One of the expert panelists, Sue Carlson, is the former president of Wisconsin Farmers Union and current leader of the Women’s Committee of the World Farmers Organization (WFO), of which NFU is a long-standing supporting member. WFO aims to bring together national producer and farm cooperative organizations to develop policies which favor and support farmers’ causes in developed and developing countries around the world.
Carlson was interviewed in a one-on-one discussion on gender issues in agriculture and society, and discussed the barriers that need to be eliminated to better empower women to produce the world’s food and raise the world’s children. “Many women farmers throughout the world lack access to land tenure, credit, markets, information, technology, agricultural inputs and leadership opportunities. The WFO’s Women’s Committee works to empower women farmers to become advocates by creating awareness about these inequities, to achieve policies that promote the socio-economic empowerment of women farmers, to share best practices and case studies, and create a strong network to help lift up and support one another. Farmers throughout the world have the same goals—to receive a profit for their work, ensure their family’s health through good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, an education for their children, and to leave their land in the best condition for future generations,” said Carlson.
In the U.S., NFU has worked to provide women across the country with a conference experience that includes brief presentations and extended discussions with women agriculture professionals on topics of importance to their future.
“The ever-present challenge of climate change combined with the steady growth of the world’s human population means that conferences like this that offer new paths forward for family farmers across the globe are critical. We must continue to have these discussions, and we are pleased the voices of women farmers are included in this discussion and the way forward to finding solutions,” said Carlson. “We thank WFO’s partner, the Farming First coalition and their supporters, for collaboration on this opportunity.”