Cindy Brown Speaks on Behalf of Farmers
Thank you Madam Chair. My name is Cindy Brown, I am a farmer from the United States.
We welcome the conclusion of the negotiations on responsible agricultural investment. The guidelines can offer a useful framework for engaging investors and to ensure the potential of investments is realised.
However, as a farmer, this process has highlighted some core issues with the way farmers are being characterised, not only in the RAI outcomes but also often in other work streams under CFS.
Farmers - in all their sizes - are a vital part of our agricultural system. The RAI outcome suggests being a farmer is not a valid self-identity. It posits an unhelpful and unrealistic dichotomy between being a smallholder and being a business.
Farmers farm for a living. Their farms are a business, even when small. Large-scale farmers are no less farmers than small-scale farmers, even if they run a larger business operation.
And in between smallholder and large-scale farmers, there are a multiplicity of farms of varying sizes and with different set ups. But all farm to support their livelihoods.
Establishing this division between farmers is not helping us support food and nutritional security. We need all farmers to contribute to sustainable production. Different farms may play different roles and they can be complementary. This diversity and multiplicity needs to be recognised across all aspects of our work here at CFS.
We nonetheless hope this outcome document will help guide and improve investments – of all sizes, in all types of farms. Investments should help foster choices among consumers and producers.
Thank you madam Chair.