By Gabriel Baroi, Caritas Asia Programme Officer
Caritas promotes organic agriculture and farmers’ rights in Asia through its Sustainable Agriculture and Farmers’ Rights (SAFaR) programme. The “Farmers’ Conference (FC)” is one of the major yearly events of SAFaR Program. Here grassroots level farmers gather together, learn and share their concerns and raise their voice to protect their rights.
Caritas Cambodia is hosting the Southeast Asian Farmers’ Conference from 11 to 16 October 2010. The main focus of this event is “Farmers’ Life and Climate Change – Mitigation and Adaptation”.
Due to climate change, the seasons are changing; time to plant, time harvest are changing. Many of the indigenous knowledge of farmers are no more applicable sometimes. Besides, almost every year, due to natural calamities farmers loses their yield at the field either by flooding or cyclone.
No, they do not have any crop-insurance. The marginal farmers’ become most vulnerable. They become the poorest of the poor. In addition to this, the international seeds-marketing is coming as a life threat to farmers. Suicide among farmers in some parts of India is a grave concern.
Caritas supported Action Research is looking into the remedy of that brining out a fact that organic farming and community marketing of organic produce can save farmers’ life and livelihood.
Through the Action Research, Caritas Bangladesh has already proved that a dry land can be greenery using very limited water. Caritas Mongolia has taken a big challenge to produce organic vegetables and to change food habits of Mongolians.
Our farmers are well aware that organic farming not only will save them economically but also help to reduce green house gas (GHG) emission. Their pro-active approach to reduce GHG may not give them international level credit but it is sure that they are making a huge contribution to make a u-turn and to save the Earth.
We all are being affected by human-made climate change. Farmers are among the worst sufferers.
We – as farmers and development professionals – may not be able to solve all problems, but our contribution to address these issues at our level can be valuable.
It is already proven by scientific research that organic agriculture could greatly help to reduce global warming and ensure food sovereignty. We also stand against genetically modified seeds, chemical farming, unfair and distorted trade, and oppressive bilateral agreements, stealing of indigenous and traditional knowledge and practices, as well as stealing of local varieties of seeds and plants.
Our organic farmers are our inspiration. We promote organic agriculture to bring life and light in soil, land and in our community. Our Farmers’ conference is one of the many events that can ensure farmers’ rights and save their live as well as mother earth.