World farm leaders meet in Argentina about climate change |

World farm leaders meet in Argentina about climate change

BUENOS AIRES — Close to 300 representatives of 70 farm organizations from 50 countries gathered here March 26, for the fourth general assembly of the World Farmers’ Organization, a group formed in 2011 to represent the interests of farmers at the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and other international forums.

“We have to speak up for ourselves,” Robert Carlson, the WFO’s first president and a former president of the North Dakota Farmers Union, said today in a speech to the assembly.

Carlson added that there are many other groups advising what agriculture should do, but that often they don’t know much about agriculture.

Farmers need formal representation in U.N. negotiations to curb climate change and on the U.N. Committee on World Food Security, he said, but so far U.N. leaders have declined to establish a farm working group on climate change or put a farmer on the food security committee, even though that committee includes representatives of U.N. agencies, civil society, international agricultural research institutions, international regional and financial institutions and the private sector, Carlson said.

As a representative of the National Farmers Union, Carlson was instrumental in setting up the WFO after the 2010 collapse of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers, which was established in Paris in 1946 to help rebuild European agriculture. IFAP grew into an international voice for farmers, but had management problems and went bankrupt.

Carlson is not running for another term and an election for a new president will be held during the meeting, which formally began today and runs through Friday at La Rural, the headquarters of the Sociedad Rural Argentina.

The WFO is based in Rome, the headquarters of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Program and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

–The Hagstrom Report

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