More than 50 participants attended the BOND Project dissemination initiative ‘Family Farming and the impacts of COVID-19: Facing the crisis with strong collective action’ hosted by Portugal’s National Confederation of Agriculture (CNA) in Coimbra on the 4th of July 2020.
Farmers and leaders of peasant organisations from all around the country debated the situation of agriculture and the collective challenges they face, in particular the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic and other concrete problems that affect family farming.
Participants reported the great difficulties thousands of Family Farmers faced with COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the selling of products due to the closure of their preferential channels of production flow (fairs, local markets, restaurants and hotels). The impact was reported to be even greater in sectors such as livestock where meat and milk producers strongly rely on this crucial time of the year (Easter celebrations).
There was a presentation of good practices identified at national level (many of which are incentives by CNA and its affiliates) such as the online platform Cultivar (www.cultivar.pt) which connects producers to consumers and promotes circular economy through short and fairtrade channels.
This event also provided the opportunity to discuss successful collective action practices and present a synthesis of the policy recommendations that emerged from the discussions held during BOND initiatives (national workshops, regional policy roundtables) and which were identified essential in the promotion of more resilient agriculture and food systems like Family Farming.
It was highlighted that by strengthening and organising the great potential for collective action and creating networks of farmers and their organisations, BOND brings to light and recognises the fundamental role that family farmers play in the environmental and economic sustainability of the sector.
The meeting resulted in several recommendations for the agricultural sector such as the need for measures that promote sustainable production and consumption models for the future through the relocation of food production and distribution channels. Participants underlined the need to promote fairs and markets in the vicinity with a priority given to family farming products in the supplying of public canteens and incentives for the organisation of small and medium-scale producers. More than ever, the implementation of the Family Agriculture Statute is required as it is considered to be an instrument for Family Farming development that could help solve many farmers’ problems.
The participants were pleased with the initiative and fulfilled the rules recommended by sanitary authorities.
The initiative took place within the scope of the BOND Project, a Horizon 2020 project financed by the European Union and led by the University of Coventry, from the United Kingdom, which the CNA integrates together with 16 partners from 12 European countries.