KATHMANDU, Aug 4: South Asian farmers have urged their governments to come up with the policies that encourage sustainable farming and increase budget to ensure the food sufficiency and minimize the impact of climate change in agriculture.
Issuing a Kathmandu Declaration at the end of a two-day Regional Conference of Small Farmers in South Asia on Saturday, farmer leaders also called on the governments to introduce agriculture development concept based on the agrarian land reform system on the back of increasing encroachment of farm land in the name of infrastructure development and urbanization.
“We can´t ensure the food sovereignty without undergoing the massive land reforms. The government should be responsible to formulate policies that ensure sustainable farming and protect the farmland in the region,” Prem Dangal, general secretary of the All Nepal Peasants Federation (ANPF) told Republica.
The farmer leaders have unanimously agreed to exert pressure on our governments in the region to formulate the policies that encourage sustainable and eco-friendly farming system in place of existing practices in which chemical fertilizers and pesticides are extensively used in the name of green revolution.
A total of 50 small farmer leaders from Nepal, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka attended the conference which was jointly organized by International Peasants Organization (IPO) and ANPF.
The participant farmer leaders have also demanded that United Nations introduce a legal system that make the developed countries, which are the major contributors to the green house gas that led to the climate change, responsible to devises programs for minimizing the impact in the farm activities.
“We have urged the developed countries to increase their assistance to support sustainable farming system in the poor countries which are the worst affected by climate change,” he said.
He said the declaration had also upheld the concept ´Small Peasants Can Cool the Planet´ stressing on the role of farmers to minimize the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for gradually switching to the eco-friendly farming methods.
Acknowledging that proportion of agricultural budget in national budget is nominal compared to other sectors, the participant also urged the governments to increase spending on agriculture for increasing farm output in the region.
“We have also agreed to put pressure on the government to raise the budget for agriculture so that modern farmed technology could be applied to boost agriculture production,” he added.
Through the declaration, farmers announced a campaign to put pressure on the government to raise awareness among the people about the adverse impact of climate change in the farm production and productivity.
The conference has also decided to organize the next conference in Dhaka of Bangladesh next year.