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SA workshop in Xi’an (CAS and Market access) Farer’s market | 西安农夫市集

SA workshop in Xi’an (CAS and Market access) Farer’s market

SA workshop in Xi’an (CAS and Market access)

Xi’an, Shaanxi  Dec 24, 2012

As part of AAC policy initiative of reducing the gap in production and supply chain, initiator of Xi’an Farmer Market (www.xianfarm.com) organized a workshop to discuss market access of farmers with support from AAC Policy Unit and other partners on 24th Dec, 2012.

Over 40 people including farmers, agricultural companies, government officials and others who concern the agriculture and market access attend this workshop. This workshop allows participants to meet and exchange with each other, enhancing connection among them and leading to a network on SA in Shaanxi province.

In this workshop, scholars, activists and organizations from Beijing shared their thoughts and experience on farmers’ market access. Participants from Shaanxi exchanged their experience and challenges on those issues. Government officials shared their thoughts from the perspective of policies and whole agricultural industry. It gave participants a lot confidence. And a retired senior government official offered his support on registration of Xi’an Farmer Market in this meeting.

Key points from this workshop:
Brief introduction of Sustainable agriculture from AAC Policy Unit:
 SA has 3 essential ‘S’: Sustainability of livelihood; Sustainability of resources; and Sustainability of environment.
 There are 9 pillars for AA CRSA: Gender Equity and Women’s Rights; Soil Conservation; Sustainable Water Management; Agro-biodiversity Preservation; Livelihood Diversification; Processing and Market Access; and Supporting Farmers’ Organizations.
 The challenges of current market system: farmers don’t have power to get fair benefit; food safety problems; agricultural products’ value in term of protecting environment, ensure farmers’ dignity life and sustainability of agriculture haven’t been recognized by market.
 Now there are many efforts to explore alternative market system: CSA, Farmer Market, internet, etc.
 The market system promoted by AA is: small farmer-centered; no middle man; promoting SA; and ensuring food safety.
 Farmers’ organization in developing countries doesn’t just focus on economy. It also has social functions.

Xi’an Farmer Market and challenges:
 Xi’an Farmer Market is a transparency platform for farmers and consumers to link each other.
 Started from this March, XI’AN FARMER’S MARKET(www.xianfarm.com) has organized 11 market fairs in Xi’an City, serving 13 farmers/farms.
 XI’AN FARMER’S MARKET has increased awareness of public on food safety and environment protection, and also find many farmers who have willing to do ecological farming, by organizing market fair, introducing XMF to institutions, media reports, etc.
 The challenges faced by XI’AN FARMER’S MARKET are: how to ensure XI’AN FARMER’S MARKET’s sustainability; lack of human resources; how to support more small farmers in term of market access and ecological farming techniques.

Prof Ma, China Agriculture University:
 Consumers should renew their idea about food price. The food price should be able to promote the environment protection and food safety in the production process.
 Government should take responsibility to solve the problems in the market. But what’s the rationale for government to make what policies?
 As Farmer Market became bigger and bigger, what’s the proper size of such institutions? And how the life-cycle theory applies to Farmer Market?
 How to interpret C in CSA in Chinese context. The C stands for Community originally. But community is a sensitive words and lack of community tradition in China. So maybe we can call it consumer supported agriculture or city supported agriculture.

Discussion on registration:
 Farmer Market as an organizer of market fair and other activities should have a legal identity. It also will be help to make partnership with other institutions and get support from government.
 It’s not easy and needs long time to register in current system.
 Mr. Shi, former head of agriculture department of Shaanxi provincial government, said he will help XI’AN FARMER’S MARKET to register when it’s a proper time.

Yan Xiaohui, manager of Little Donkey Farm
 Modernized agriculture has increased yield of crops but cause a lot problems like pollution, food safety, market risk, etc.
 We should promote agriculture to be diversity, ecological and social.
 We launched a rural development movement since 2000. We appreciated value of traditional agriculture. We trained farmers, provided ecological techniques support and support farmers to set up cooperative.
 Little Donkey Farm is a pilot project sponsored by Haidian District Government and Renmin University. We practice ecological farming here and train farmers. And it’s also a space where parents and kids can come to experience farming.

Chang Tianle, Beijing Farmer Market:
 Objectives of Beijing Farmer Market are: protect environment and soil; trade justice; ensure food safety and rebuilding trust among society.
 In Beijing Farmer Market, producers and consumers can meet each other face to face. Producers can sell their products at a fair price and consumers can buy safety food from someone they knew.
 From last year, there would be 1 to 3 market fairs every week where 20 Beijing local farmers/farms would serve 1500 to 4000 people.
 We will help farmers to make their production transparency. We or our consumers would visit farm without notice to evaluate the farm.
 And we also support farmers to learn and exchange farming techniques and skills.
 We plan to set up a national network. Through this network, Farmer Market in different places can introduce local products to national level. And each Farmer Market has responsibility to work with local farmers to ensure the quality and safety of products.

Mr. Shi, former head of agriculture department of Shaanxi provincial government:
 Farmers need to be organized to compete in market. And government or private sector should help organized farmers in term of management and marketing.
 Government should introduce more policies in favor of small farmers in term of marketing.
 XI’AN FARMER’S MARKET should register as a non-profit social organization. Anyone who has interests can join. This should be a platform to connect farmers and consumers. I will help you to do it.

Farmers sharing:
 Health is wealth: this is believed by many farmers who practice ecological farming. This is their motivation to do it.
 Practice proved that agriculture without chemical fertilizer and pesticides is possible.
 Marketing is a big challenge for many farmers
 Agriculture can be combined with traditional Chinese culture like Ying Yang and traditional medicine.

Mr. Cheng, former president of North-western University:
 Proven by study, recycle farming system and ecological means can ensure crops yield, food safety and sustainability of agriculture. And there are many people is practicing it.
 I am willing to help small farmers. So if anyone needs help can contact with me.

Shi Yan, postdoc, Tsinghua University and chief of Shared Harvest farm
 Shi Yan shared Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in other countries and China.
 She also shared her program called Shared Harvest which is a pioneer and model of CSA in China.
 She gave her appreciation and approval to YDQ for its pilot and practice on SA and the effort to ensure food safety and she offered help with her selling platform for organized farmers to sell their products.

Discussion on internet marketing:
 Internet platform can help farmers to get market information, reducing farmers’ risk on selling.
 Online shop is facing many challenges, like high transportation cost, how to build trust, etc.
 When you are doing online marketing, besides information of your products, you should put more information like environment where you produce, the local culture, etc. It would help you to attract consumers and build the trust.

Conclusion discussion:
 Follow up after this workshop: identity of XI’AN FARMER’S MARKET; seeking support from government based on policies; building trust between farmers and consumers by documenting production
 CSA is a concept from oversea, but it matches present Chinese context; CSA serves particular consumers, so it can be part of market but not all.
 Infrastructure for information and transportation are important.

Volunteer: Wu ZhiJuan
QQ: 547369716
Phone: 18629527005
Mail: farmersmarketxa@gmail.com
Web site: www.xianfarm.com
Weixin public:

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