Asia Land Forum 2020: Covid-19 A Wake-Up Call For Our Food Systems

Monday, October 12th, 2020 | 1010 Views

At the 2020 Asia Land Forum, members of the International Land Coalition Asia (ILC Asia) voiced out the struggles of smallholder farmers, indigenous communities, and women farmers among others, in mitigating the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Forum, which is organised virtually by ILC Asia from October 6 to October 8, was attended by about 200 participants from 54 member organisations in 13 countries.

The Asia Land Forum (ALF) is an annual event that brings together International Land Coalition (ILC) members in the region and other stakeholders ranging from grassroots organisations, activists, and local and international NGOs and researchers, to multilateral organisations and government agencies from the region. ALF aims to develop a common ground of the political, economic, environmental and social linkages between land governance, food security, poverty and democracy. This year’s theme is on the role of family farmers in securing our food systems.

The first two days of the conference this year was co-organised with ILC Asia members the People’s Campaign for Agrarian Reform Network (AR Now!) and the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA). The first series of the event mainly discussed the current situation of smallholder farmers in Asia, their challenges and opportunities, as well as their contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The conference continues with thematic discussions about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on local land users and communities to own, control, and manage their land and natural resources.

“How COVID-19 is affecting those working on land may seem like a stretch to some of us, but as land provides security, productivity, and opportunity, land has become a critical instrument to protect the most vulnerable groups in the face of a pandemic. In an unprecedented time like this, we are reminded of regional solidarity that responds to the immediate impacts of the crisis. Governments must work shoulder-to-shoulder with civil society and strive for a more sustainable world for all,” said Saurlin Siagian, ILC Asia Regional Coordinator in Indonesia.

As reported by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), while smallholder farmers in Asia produce most of the world’s food, they remain lacking control over tenurial security and food security, among others. Moreover, governments’ policies to ensure food security in the times of Covid-19 tend to be partial, failing to take into account the key roles that family farmers play to promote sustainable, resilient and diversified food systems.


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