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Small food producers need bigger say at climate talks - IFAD

Giving them more say would help make food production more sustainable for the whole world, says UN agency's new External Relations Chief Santala.

(ANSA) - ROME, DEC 1 - Satu Santala, the new Associate Vice-President of External Relations and Governance of the UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has said that the people who produce our food need to have a bigger say at global forums, such as the recent COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow.
    She stressed that this would help make food production more sustainable and benefit the whole world, not just smallholder farmers in developing countries.
    "Food is one of the defining issues of our time, particularly because of the pressures coming from climate change and loss of biodiversity. Yet the rural people who produce our food are too often side-lined in global development processes," said Santala who joins the Rome-based food agency specialised in helping rural communities after previously serving as the Director-General for Development Policy at Finland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
    Rural small-scale farmers are estimated to produce one third of global food.
    They are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters and erratic weather, yet they receive only 1.7% of climate finance.
    A recent report released by IFAD, one of three Rome-based UN food agencies along with the FAO and the WFP, predicts that staple crops in eight African countries would decline by up to 80% by mid-century if temperatures continue to rise due to climate change.
    This could have a catastrophic impact on poverty and food availability unless there is an urgent injection of funding to help vulnerable farmers adapt how and what they farm.
    "Food links everyone on the planet together. So it is not just about rural people in poor countries, but it is also about how we build food systems that are sustainable for all of us," said Santala.
    IFAD is the only global development organization that works exclusively on eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas, with a dedicated fund to help small-scale farmers adapt to climate change. (ANSA).


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