Here's a news release from the International Federation of Agricultural Producers about the connection between farming and biodiversity. It's being issued today, the International Day for Biological Diversity.
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May 22, 2008 – Bonn, Germany – On this International Day for Biological Diversity 2008, which is devoted to agriculture, IFAP, the farmers' voice at the world level, expresses it acute concerns about the lack of resources available to farmers to support and develop biodiversity while trying to maintain and increase productivity to meet the food needs of humanity. Farmers are the source of agricultural biodiversity, and are key actors in providing solutions to creating long-term sustainable solutions.
As a key partner of the CBD, IFAP will participate actively in the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to contribute to a successful outcome for a new Program of Work on Agricultural Biodiversity. IFAP's President Jack Wilkinson will give farmers' views during the agriculture biodiversity session, stressing in par ticular the need for payments for ecosystem services to farmers for maintaining agricultural landscapes. He will highlight the key issues for farmers and propose the measures necessary to move forward in the implementation of the POW. IFAP will be advocating the adoption of specific text that is up for decision in the review of implementation of the program of work on agricultural biodiversity.
David King, IFAP Secretary General emphasized, "the efforts of farming communities must be recognized as essential to integrating biodiversity into agricultural practices." Farmers are willing participants in protecting the environment and enhancing biodiversity, and there should be a sharing of the cost costs incurred in their efforts to maintain and enhance both agricultural and wild biodiversity on the farm, a service farmers provide to all of humanity. Farmers are key players in a solutions-oriented approach to protecting biodiversity, and consequently should play a strong par– ticipatory role in policy decisions.
There is currently a wide information gap on agricultural biodiversity and what farmers can maximize their efforts to protect it. IFAP is calling for data on the world's diversity of plant genetic resources for food and to be collected, harmonized and made available to farmers. "Through education, farmers will feel ownership of biodiversity in their farming activities, and will be in a better position to work with their governments to find appropriate solutions," noted King.
Farmers face a spider web of often conflicting government regulations related to the environment. Governments need to develop national strategies for conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity and eliminate any laws or policies that are undermining or harming biodiversity programs. Moreover, in many countries, farmers are not even certain that the titles to their property are secure; land tenure must be assu red to put farmers in a position to invest in long-term related to biodiversity. Governments need also to recognize the universal right of farmers to save and reuse seed produced on their own farm.
IFAP has produced a document with the title Main Issues Related to Agricultural Biodiversity: IFAP Contributions to the CBD Program of Work, outlining IFAP's positions as they relate to biodiversity. This document can be found on IFAP's website at www.ifap.org