Final negotiations of the policy text on Connecting Smallholders to Markets

Last week, in Rome, on 8-9 June, Shi Yan and Judith Hitchman, URGENCI’s vice-president and president, participated in the final negotiations of the policy text on Connecting Smallholders to Markets, on behalf of Urgenci, as part of the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) delegation. Other Civil society organizations were present as well (La Via Campesina, FIAN, Friends of the Earth International, WAMIP and more.). The negotiations took place between member States of the CFS of the United Nations and the private sector mechanism. The negotiations went into night sessions on both days, lasting until almost midnight, but it was worth all the efforts.

These negotiations create public policy recommendations for all the governments that are members of the United Nations. The recommendations refer explicitly to smallholders, local, national and regional markets, public procurement, gender, youth and nutrition.

At least four Urgenci members have dedicated a considerable amount of time to providing input for this important text over the last 2 years, as we believe it is crucial to our network.

After two days of intensive negotiations, most of our main positions on the access to markets (the role of local, national, regional markets, the importance of short distibution chains in improving farmers’ income, the need for participatory public procurement programmes and various key recommendations for public policies) were approved by the CFS. There were some more negative aspects, such as the reference to international markets and trade and womens’ rights, but all in all, there are many key wins that we can use in our various countries.

You can find all the official information about the consultation process on CFS website. It contains all the comments and inputs made by member States, the private sector and various institutional actors prior to the negotiations.
For a brief and clear description of the “Connecting Smallholders to Markets” process from the beginning please see the relevant page on the CSM website.
The recommendations resulting from the negotiations will be presented formally for endorsement at the 43rd Session of CFS in October 2016. After October, we can all use these recommendations to push for better national policies on smallholders access to markets.
Here is the final result of the negotiations – the CFS Recommendations on Connecting Smallholders to Markets – Final Draft.
At the moment, the recommendations are not translated into other languages, but they will be soon.

You can see some of the civil society interventions by the Via Campesina here, including Shi Yan in the web-cast:
• http://www.viacampesina.org/en/index.php/2-uncategorised/2072-in-defense-of-territorial-markets-institutional-procurement-ramona-and-angel-at-cfs-negotiations
• http://www.viacampesina.org/en/index.php/main-issues-mainmenu-27/sustainable-peasants-agriculture-mainmenu-42/2071-small-holder-farmers-crucial-to-ensure-food-security-and-nutrition-javier-sanchez-at-cfs
• http://www.csm4cfs.org/connecting-smallholders-markets-89-june-2016/
• Webcast links:
8 June (9.30-12.30)
8 June (14.30-17.30)
9 June (9.30-12.30)
9 June (14.30-17.30)