Elizabeth Nsimadala at the UNFSS 2021 Pre-Summit Opening Plenary

I want just to mention I am not only here carrying a voice of the over 80 million smallholders’ farmers that I represent under PAFO. But, I am also here representing the voices of the global producers who have been involved in the independent dialogues and I want the audience to quote this: For over 10 years of my experience in farmer’s leadership, I’m seeing a UN process that is very inclusive that is diverse that is open to all the stakeholders.

I want to comment on the work done by the entire team, the DSG they of course, under the guidance of the Secretary-general, the special envoy, the teams that have been working on the scenes and behind the scenes to put this process together, to make sure that this becomes a people’s summit, to make sure that this becomes a solution summit.

This process took place under Covid, but we can’t keep lamenting, we can’t keep brimming, we can’t keep casting Covid, we need to put the broken pieces together and pick the positive things that Covid taught us. It has connected the world virtually and the same thing the independent dialogues have connected us globally, they have brought together all the people across the world. They brought different stakeholders.

They brought us around the table to discuss food issues, discuss the future of the food systems, and discuss how food can really deliver on the SDGs by the year 2030. Thousands and Thousands of independent dialogues have happened. The last time I checked, there were over 700 hundred. So, we have had Thousands and others are still happening. These have brought together different kinds of people: the youth, the producers, those from livestock fisheries the indigenous people, the researchers, the academia, and all sorts of institutions. They brought us, they brought them together to discuss issues to do with nutrition, issues to do with food systems, sustainability; issues of inclusivity to mention belle view. And why? Why the food. Because it’s our life; because it connects us with nature.

You might all be here seated, representing UN agencies, representing your governments,  representing the different organizations but I just want to make one thing clear that you are all here as consumers and as we speak about food, we speak about two people, we speak about two constituencies: the producers and the consumers and I want to make it clear that it is your demand, your desire, for the nutritious diets, for safe foods in whatever qualities and quantities that should make producers equal partners in the food systems.