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FTA at Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit: Empowering smallholders

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Originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News

Mediating the push and pull of agricultural expansion and conservation is no easy task. Add to that smallholders – who play a crucial role in producing agricultural commodities but whose economic disenfranchisement can incline to unsustainable practices – and the situation becomes even more complex.

With increasing corporate commitments to eliminate deforestation from supply chains, the integral, and precarious, situation of smallholders must be addressed. But how can companies help to empower them, disincentivizing deforestation and unsustainable practices? What must government, civil society and the financial sector do? And, what would a successful smallholder empowerment project look like?

At the upcoming Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit in Brunei from 3 to 5 August, these questions will be discussed by diverse representatives from government, business, civil society and the research community.

Pablo Pacheco is principal scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and coordinator of the Trade, Investment and Governance theme of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. He will be chairing the smallholder session at the summit. In an interview on the sidelines of the recent Global Landscapes Forum: The Investment Case he addressed the thorny question of smallholders, investing and sustainability.

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