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Warm greetings!

We feel honored to be here among the participants of FIMARC 16th World Conference and Global Assembly to share our thoughts on Sustainable Agriculture.

Sustainable agriculture has been one of the major focus of Caritas Asia strategy since its first establishment in 1999 through various programs implemented at parish, diocesan, national, sub regional and regional levels, with Smallholder Farmers at the center of our work.

For Caritas, the smallholder farmers play a crucial role in the social mission of the Church, not only because they are an important part of society, but also because they are the very backbone and source of the food system that sustains every family in every community. They help in the development and nurturing of communities by producing the daily food needs of all individuals, who are the nucleus of society.

The smallholder farmers, however, have yet to receive enough attention and support in dealing with challenges they struggle with for many years, including among others, land ownership, access to capital and to market, support in climate change adaptation and many more. These challenges are further exacerbated by the now unpredictable changing patterns of the weather that has made farming more chaotic and more susceptible to agricultural losses, than ever before.

Through the years, 25 Caritas member organizations in Asia have continuously addressing this issue through various key activities including capacity buildings, awareness raising, dialogue with decision makers, research, and collaboration with different actors.

You can see some of the best practices and learnings here through the 6 Caritas MOs present here from Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam, including Thailand as the host. In few minutes we will also learn about Caritas Thailand’s work in caring for our common home with the smallholder farmers in the dioceses in Thailand.

Similar to FIMARC, Caritas is also moved by the Pope Francis’ papal encyclical letter, “Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home.” The encyclical letter inspires Caritas Confederation in launching its worldwide #TogetherWe campaign, where we form Communities of Care. Communities of Care are made up of parishioners, diocesan representatives, youth clubs and community members in general who commit together to act at all levels to care for our planet and to care for the poor.

In all countries where Caritas is present, Communities of Care engage and empower people to be change makers in their local communities with a view to promoting integral ecology as inspired by the teachings of Fratelli Tutti and Laudato Si’.

Through this campaign, we would like to share that everyone has a chance to raise awareness and collectively address care for the poor and care for our planet in our efforts to uphold human dignity and advance social justice together, which is in line with FIMARC World Assembly’s theme this year: Let’s be actors of Ecological, Economical and Human transition/transformation... Let’s dare to build dignified rural life and a just world!!!

Thank you very much for having us here and be a part of your journey in protecting our common home.

(Dr. Benedict D’Rozario, Caritas Asia President, address during Caritas Special Session on Sustainable Agriculture, 30 September 2023)

Caritas Asia participated in the FIMARC 16th World Conference and Global Assembly held on 26 September-4 October 2023 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. More than 70 participants of 29 countries worldwide joined the event, including 5 Caritas MOs in Asia and Caritas Asia Regional Secretariat.