[The following is the SEARICE statement delivered by SEARICE Executive Director Normita G. Ignacio at the Fourteenth Regular Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Rome, Italy]
SEARICE commends the Commission, working with various agencies, in coming up with targets and indicators to determine if the Global Plans of Action, strategic plans and various targets, such as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets are met.
However, please allow us to bring your attention to Appendix 1 of CGRFA-14/13/4.1 Rev.1. The Commission, FAO, the Committee on Food Security, the IASSTD and several other international instruments and bodies have long recognized that small, mixed farms that are sustainably managed by small men and women farmers has the most possibility to contribute to sustainable biodiversity for food and agriculture. This is the reason why we appreciate Priority Areas 1 to 4. However, we need to seriously consider as a target or indicator, the number of small mixed farms worldwide, and the genetic diversity in these small mixed farms. We also need to target the number of small farmers assisted in terms of maintaining the genetic diversity of their small farms. This will provide a link between the crucial role of small farmers and agricultural biodiversity, which is not captured with the present targets and indicators discussed in this paper. We need to highlight this missing link, so we will be able to look at farmers’ perspectives and listen to farmers voices in conserving agricultural biodiversity for the past ten thousand years.
On Priority Activity 11, “[P]romoting development and commercialization of all varieties, primarily farmers’ varieties/landraces and underutilized species”, we express serious concern if such commercialization would lead to decline in agricultural biodiversity. Commercialization must be secondary to the goals of agricultural biodiversity, agroecology, food security and a balanced and healthy environment.