Coldiretti, the largest agricultural association in Europe, has announced plans to expand its model of working with smallholder farmers in low-income countries including Ghana.
This came to light at a farmers’ market organised as part of activities preceding the United Nations Pre-Summit on Food Systems Summit, underway in Rome, Italy.
The farmers’ market, held in the city’s historic Circo Massimo, put farmers and producers at the centre stage in Rome ahead of the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit that opended on Monday, information made available to the Ghana News Agency has indicated.
The market, organized by Coldiretti, featured dozens of stalls set up in the vicinity of the UN Summit’s venue, where heads of State and delegates have started meetings to discuss ways to transform food systems to tackle hunger, poverty, climate change and inequality.
The UN, led by UN Deputy Secretary-General, Ms Amina Mohammed, and other government officials, including Agnes Kalibata, the Special Envoy for the Food Systems Summit, toured the market to meet with farmers before paying tribute to producers, particularly women, for their central role in food systems.
“Farmers are the lifeblood of our food systems,” Ms Mohammed said. “Understanding their needs and the challenges they face help to ensure that emerging solutions are fit for purpose.”
The visit aimed at raising awareness of the essential, yet often unnoticed, contribution that women producers make and to highlight the urgent need to support greater resilience against shocks like the Covid-19 pandemic.
On her part, Ms Elizabeth Nsimadala, President of the Pan-African Farmers Organizations (PAFO), said: “Women farmers and agripreneurs are often held back through a lack of resources and access to information. Supporting women with the same skills, tools and training is a failsafe way to improve food systems.”
The UN Food Systems Summit was announced by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on World Food Day in October last year, as a part of the Decade of Action for delivery on the SDGs by 2030.
The aim of the Summit is to deliver progress on all 17 of the SDGs through a food systems’ approach, leveraging the interconnectedness of food systems to global challenges.
Delegates from more than 100 countries, including those who were able to travel to Rome, are participating in various sessions that would discuss the outcomes of engagements with more than 1000 Dialogues, involving tens of thousands around the world.
Ghana’s delegation is being led by Madam Eudora Hilda Quartey Koranteng, Ghana’s Ambassador to Italy and Mr Yaw Frimpong Addo, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture as well as 15 other delegates who are participating through virtual platforms.
The Pre-Summit of the UN Food Systems Summit is said to have set the stage for the culminating global event in New York in September.
Through the Pre-Summit, the UN Food Systems Summit would reaffirm its commitment to promote human rights for all and ensure the most marginalised groups have an opportunity to participate in, contribute to and benefit from the Summit process.
Under the leadership of the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the Pre-Summit, also called a “People’s Summit”, is being attended by youth, farmers, indigenous peoples, civil society, researchers, private sector, policy leaders and ministers of agriculture, environment, health, nutrition and finance, among other participants.