Farmers’ Rights Capacity-Building Workshop in Honduras
The XII National Encounter of Smallholder Farmer Innovators of Honduras was held in the city of Siguatepeque from 3-5 September 2014.  One hundred twenty smallholder men and women farmers, as well as decision makers participated at this meeting.
 
The meeting was a space to exchange experiences of smallholder farmer innovations, as well as to celebrate a seed fair to exchange seeds, local varieties and traditional knowledge.
 
On 4 September, in the framework of the National Encounter, a session on farmers’ rights was held by GFAR. More than 100 smallholder farmers participated in the session and were very interested in the two presentations made. The first one was about the concept of farmers’ rights and their recognition at the international and regional levels. The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was presented as the only international binding instrument recognizing farmers’ rights. In addition, the Strategic Action Plan for Mesoamerica for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture for Climate Change Adaptation was also presented as a regional framework including relevant elements for the implementation of farmers’ rights.
 
The second presentation was focused on presenting possible policy and legal elements improving the implementation of farmers’ rights at the national level. Examples of national policies and laws of different countries, including Ethiopia, India, Guatemala and the African Region were explored.
 
At the end of the afternoon, smallholder farmers were divided into 10 small working groups to identify national obstacles for the fully implementation of farmers’ rights in Honduras, as well as to identify possible recommendations to reverse this situation.
 
Working groups shared in Plenary their discussions and participants agreed on specific recommendations towards improving the recognition and implementation of farmers’ rights in Honduras.
 
Recommendations were submitted directly to Mr. Jacobo Paz Bodden, Minister of Agriculture of Honduras, on Friday at a meeting held in Tegucigalpa.
 
Smallholder farmers of Honduras recommended the Minister the following actions to strength the recognition and implementation of farmers’ rights in Honduras, particularly fulfilling the obligations acquired by the country with the community of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture:
 
  • Increase awareness of smallholder farmers on farmers’ rights, as well as on international, regional and national relevant legislation. Increasing awareness is necessary also in decision-makers; researchers; students; among others.
 
  • Recognize and strength the role of women in agriculture.
 
  • Document and systematize traditional knowledge.
 
  • Institutionalize the participatory plant breeding methodology as an appropriate tool generating options for climate change adaptation.
 
  • Promote and ensure participation mechanisms to smallholder farmer organizations for decision-making relevant for the conservation and use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, particularly at the National Commission of Plant Genetic Resources of Honduras (CONAREFIH) and the National Seed System.
 
  • Evaluate the participatory development of a Policy of Seeds that recognizes the role of family farming in the local and national seed systems, respects and guarantees farmer’ rights.
 
  • Consider reviewing, and if necessary adjusting, national measures affecting the implementation of farmers’ rights, and recommend modifications that guarantee, among others, local seed systems; access to favorable financial credits; fair and access to markets; incentives for conserving and improving seeds and the right to sell seeds arise from participatory plant breeding.
 
  • Guarantee the rights of indigenous agricultural communities, according to Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization.
 
  • Support community seed banks and seed custodians, as well as other local conservation initiatives.
 
  • Promote and support traditional seed and agricultural fairs at the local and national levels.    
 
The Governmental support of related initiatives, programmes and activities of different farmer organizations and other institutions would allow to advance in the improvement of smallholder farmers livelihoods, through the development of options for food and nutritional security, and the adaptation and mitigation of climate change.
 
The XII Encounter of Smallholder Farmer Innovators of Honduras, and the capacity-building session on farmers’ rights was socialized in the national newspaper “El Heraldo”.