MESSAGE FROM THE WEST AFRICAN NETWORK OF SMALLHOLDER FARMERS’ ORGANISATIONS AND AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS

We, African agricultural producers, represent the vast majority of those who are poor and hungry! But we do not want to live off charity and humanitarian good will! We do not want to build our rural societies on food aid, however generous it may be! We want above all to live from our work!

We want agriculture and farmers to be valued for their work and multiple functions: nutritional, social, environmental and cultural. A farm is not a factory! It is a production unit, of course. But it is also a way of life, a way of being and of sustaining society! Agricultural products are not manufactured goods whose trade can be controlled simply by the imperfect laws of the market.

 

The time has come to change things! The time has come for other policies and other types of investments in Agriculture. Poverty will not disappear from our villages so long as it is not recognized that agriculture is fundamental to freeing our countries from food dependence, i.e. to support their food sovereignty, as was the case in Europe or America. Poverty and hunger will be always present so long as agricultural producers will not be able to produce more and to have stable incomes, sufficient for all the family; this requires production, of course, but all a market, domestic, local markets in the first instance. Poverty and hunger will not disappear from our countries until we, our products and our trade receive appropriate support and protection measures from our governments.

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