Last week I had the opportunity to attend the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization‘s (FAO) Committee on World Food Security (CFS46) in Rome, Italy as a Global Dairy Platform Ambassador. Here are my biggest takeaways.
1. Farmers need to be a part of these discussions.
At these UN committee meetings, policy is being set that affects all farmers across the globe. And yet, many of the people creating the policy have little to no experience with actual on the ground farming practices that are unique to each farmer, region, and type of farming. Farmers need to have their voices heard. We can understand better than anyone what our fellow farmers need and the support we can give them. We need to be our biggest advocates. Farmers need to be at these meetings, sharing our actual experiences.
2. Over the last 4 years, there has been a significant increase in the number of people who are food insecure. Now totally more than 820 million people.
After several years of a decline in the number of hungry people, these numbers are now on the rise. Making the goal of Zero Hunger by 2030 seems further away than ever before.
3. Rural Communities are some of the hardest hit by food insecurities.
And specifically, farmers and their families, are among some of the most food insecure in our population, especially between harvests. The very people growing our food, don’t have enough food to feed their families.
4. The International Day of Rural Women
If rural women farmers were given the same rights as their male counterparts, there would be 150 million less hungry people in the world today. As a mom of two young daughters, I couldn’t help but think of the future generation of rural women. The rural girls of today in developing nations. We need to make sure these rural women farmers have basic rights: food, healthcare, owning their own land, gaining an education, access to technology, ability to receive a loan, etc.
5. Ending hunger is a more complex issue than I could have ever imagined.
From the causes of food insecurity to the aid provided to the food grown. It is a complicated issue with no easy solutions. But I do believe the key to this global issue lies with farmers. We need better resources for farmers in developing nations. Helping them maximize yields while improving productivity.
6. To feed our growing population sustainably, we need to check our emotions at the door and rely on sound science to make our decisions.
We will need all types of farming and all sizes. We will need every resource and technology available to us. Farmers need to be able to make the best decisions for their land and cattle with the most up to date information.
7. Dairy Farming can be a part of the solution to fighting hunger.
Hunger isn’t just about calories. It’s about high-quality foods that are nutrient-rich and affordable. Milk provides some of the highest quality protein. It is important for us to share the science and research behind the health benefits of dairy. And at the same time, dairy farming can create a strong local economy and jobs and income for a community.
8. Agriculture can be a part of the solution to our climate change challenges.
Often times, people point the finger at agriculture in the discussions about climate change. But when looking at the science agriculture can help us be more sustainable. We need people to understand the research and data on agriculture including on the impact healthy soil can have on carbon sequestration and the role livestock plays in a sustainable food system.
9. The UN FAO is celebrating the Decade of Family Farming.
It’s worth reminding the global community of the diversity and importance of farmers. ALL farmers are important and produce 80% of the world’s food and can contribute enormously. We, farmers, are on the front lines of climate change, rural development, and – in a disturbing volume – also poverty and hunger.
New Mexico Milkmaid