NFU attends the WFO annual congress
Peter Kendall, the president of the NFU, and Martin Haworth, the Director of Policy, last week attended the third annual congress of the World Farmers Organisation (WFO) in Niigata, Japan.
The WFO is an international organisation of farmers for farmers and its main aim is to bring together all of the national farm cooperative organisations and producers in order to develop policies. The WFO wants these policies to favour and support farmers’ causes in developed and developing countries around the world.
Since it was established in 2011, the WFO membership has gone from strength to strength. It has grown by 70% over the past year and now accounts for over 50 national and regional members around the globe.
The organisation’s reputation amongst the global institutions and decision makers, that drive agriculture policy around the world, is becoming more and more credible. In order for the voice of modern farming to be heard, the WFO insists that they should always have active farmers present in global discussions on key issues.
Mr Robert Carlson, the President of the WFO, spoke on the NFU’s official website, saying: “If we aren’t at the dinner table, someone else is eating us for dinner!”
The NFU commented on the WFO this week, saying that the common factor linking farmers throughout the world is their desire to improve the profitability of their farms.
The 2013 annual congress video (watch on the WFO site here) captures the essence of what the organisation does on behalf of the world’s farmers, and how it is being viewed by key players in the global agricultural environment.
So, during last week’s congress the WFO adopted a policy on global trade. They key elements of the paper that were also endorsed by the NFU are:
- Trade helps to even out demand and supply imbalances, thus contributing to food security, and promotes resource efficiency and economic growth. It can also be an important way of providing farmers with increased market opportunities and thereby improving their incomes and the prosperity of rural communities.
- The WFO is committed to the pursuit of ambitious trade policy objectives and the reinforcement of the global agricultural trading system. However, it is essential that this is achieved in a fair, transparent and predictable trading environment and one which ensures that agriculture can fulfill its wider economic, social and environmental role and takes account of the special needs of the least developed countries.
- The WFO is committed to achieving the following trade policy objectives provided they are achieved in a way which respects guiding principles to ensure that agriculture can fulfill its wider role:
- the parallel elimination of all forms of export subsidies and disciplines on all export measures with equivalent effect
- a substantial improvement in market access with special treatment of sensitive products taking into account the specific tariff structure
- a substantial reduction in WTO limits on trade-distorting domestic support
- special and differential treatment for developing countries and least developed countries which enables them to address the real concerns of resource poor, vulnerable and small-scale farmers
- strengthened rules applied to export prohibition/restriction and export taxes
- protection of geographical indications
Picture courtesy of the NFU.