Farming First Newsletter August 2012 Issue
The much-anticipated Rio+20 Summit took place in June. Farming First focused on building momentum around the role of agriculture in a green economy with a number of side-events at the negotiation site as well as partnering to organise the fourth annual Agriculture and Rural Development Day. Aside from Rio, Farming First continues to promote sustainable agriculture and food security, with presence at key events and in global media.
In June, members of the Farming First coalition attended the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

During the Summit, Farming First hosted three side events, which focused on 1) transforming and scaling up agricultural extension, 2) scaling up innovation and improving uptake of best practices for sustainable agriculture, and 3) achieving and measuring sustainable intensification. The side events were chaired by:
Read more information about each Farming First side-event.

Also during Rio+20, Farming First took part in the fourth annual Agriculture and Rural Development Day on 18 June. As a co-organiser, Farming First helped to unite around 600 agricultural experts to the day-long event (and 600 more via webcast) to discuss agriculture’s role in building a green economy and achieving a sustainable food production system. The day featured keynote speakers, a high-level panel discussion and 13 learning events. Speakers included the Brazilian Minister for the Environment, Izabella Teixeira and Rachel Kyte, Vice-President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank.

Read Farming First’s blog about Agriculture and Rural Development Day.

The final agreed text recognises the need to revitalise the agricultural sector as part of a new vision for sustainable development, embracing a wide range of farming practices and technologies, particularly in developing countries – while taking note of the importance of empowering rural women as critical agents for enhancing agricultural development, and food and nutrition security. It says:

“We emphasize the need to revitalize the agricultural and rural development sectors, notably in developing countries, in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner...Noting the diversity of agricultural conditions and systems.”

Download the final text from Rio+20.

Food security and sustainable agriculture were highlighted as one of seven priority areas emerging out of the Rio+20 negotiations.

Read Farming First’s Rio+20 press release.

G8 and G20
The G8 Summit took place on 18-19 May at Camp David, USA and marked a new step in efforts to improve global food security, with the announcement of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. The new initiative aims to raise 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years through significantly increased investment from the private sector in African agriculture, as well as through effective country plans and food security policies. Following the Summit, the World Bank was called on by the G8 to develop options for creating a “Doing Business in Agriculture Index”, in collaboration with other relevant partners, to help create an enabling environment for businesses to promote sustainable agricultural development.

Read Farming First’s G8 press release.

The G20 Summit took place in Mexico in June, ahead of the Rio+20 Summit. An innovative initiative called AgResults was announced at the Summit, which addresses global challenges in food security and agriculture by generating market-oriented solutions. AgResults uses pull mechanisms to reward successful innovations and their adoption by offering results-based financial incentives.

UNFCCC Negotiations
At the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) in December 2011, it was agreed that the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) would act as a platform to further discuss agriculture in the context of climate change and the development of a work program. At the UNFCCC mid-year meetings in Bonn in May, Farming First hosted two meetings with the Parties and Civil Society to discuss progress and areas of consensus. No formal decision was reached as to what SBSTA should recommend to the Conference of the Parties (COP), so discussion of viewpoints relating to an agriculture work plan will continue at COP18 in Qatar in December.

Back in March, Farming First submitted its views on the focus and activities of a work programme on agriculture to the UNFCCC Secretariat.

Read Farming First’s full submission to the UNFCCC.

Feeding the World
In June, Guardian Sustainable Business hosted a live online discussion on the future food security challenge given a growing global population: “Feeding the World: How on Earth can we Feed 9 Billion People”. Guardian Sustainable Business brings together sustainability news, comment and analysis via a section on the Guardian’s website.

A number of Farming First spokespeople were on the panel. They included:
  • Robynne Anderson, UN Representative for the World Farmers Organization (WFO)
  • Santiago del Solar, Agronomist and Farmer from NW Buenos Aires Province
  • Dawn Rittenhouse, Director of Sustainability, DuPont
During the two-hour live discussion, questions focussed on three key issues: changing consumer behaviour toward sustainable consumption, the role of companies in aiding this behaviour change, and innovative and effective farming techniques.

View the full online discussion on Guardian Sustainable Business.

The Economist
Later this year, The Economist will be hosting two further conferences in its “Feeding the World Series,” in Africa and Asia. Farming First is a supporting organisation for both conferences.

“Feeding the World: Africa’s Role in Solving the Food Crisis” takes place on 15-16 November in Johannesburg. Speakers include Tina Joemat-Petterson, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, South Africa, Shenggen Fan, Director General, IFPRI, and Roy Steiner, Deputy Director, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Farming First supporters and subscribers will receive a 15% discount off the full standard ticket price for the Africa conference. To ensure your place at this critical discussion and enjoy our special rate please fill in the form and email it to [email protected] or call +44 207 576 8550. For ongoing programme and speaker updates:

“Feeding the World: Asia’s Prospect of Plenty” takes place on 17 September in Hong Kong. Speakers include Rusman Heriawan, Vice Minister of Agriculture, Government of Indonesia and Davor Pisk, Chief Operating Officer, Syngenta.
Farming First supporters and subscribers will receive a 20% discount off the full standard ticket price for the Asia conference. To ensure your place at this critical discussion and enjoy our special rate please fill in the form and email it to [email protected] or call Alice Wong on +852 2585 3312. For ongoing programme and speaker updates:

Full agendas and list of speakers can be seen on both conference websites, as well as some Farming First TV videos.

Feeding the World, Africa
Feeding the World, Asia
Farming First TV
Ten Farming First videos have been uploaded since March, including a number of interviews recorded during Rio+20. These include:

Assessing which agriculture technologies can feed the world
Claudia Ringler, Deputy Division Director at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Advancing agricultural extension services
Dr. Gregory Crosby, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA)

Improving livestock productivity in Kenya
Bridgit Muasa, Fellow, African Women in Agricultural Research and Development

The state of agriculture in Argentina
Santiago del Solar, Farmer from Buenos Aires

Supporting farmers with agricultural growth corridors
Anne Grethe Dalane, Regional Director for Latin America, Yara

Achieving a safe space for agriculture in the face of climate change
Sir John Beddington, UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor

To watch the rest of the videos, please visit Farming First TV on YouTube and make sure to share our videos and subscribe to Farming First TV.
Farming First in the news
Farming First coverage includes:

Environmentalists say UN sustainability pact lacks teeth

Guardian Sustainable Business:
Feeding the world: how on earth can we feed nine billion people?

Huffington Post:
From pledges to progress: G8 leaders must take action now
This blog post is authored by Robynne Anderson, UN Representative of the World Farmers Organisation and Farming First spokesperson. Robynne Anderson is an ongoing contributor to the Huffington Post’s blog.

Impatient Optimists (Gates Foundation):
Investing in food for Africa — and the rest of us

Reuters AlertNet:
Will agriculture make it at Rio+20?

Reuters AlertNet:
Business backs agricultural growth corridors in Africa

New Agriculturist:
Agriculture and the green economy: the view from Rio+20

BBC Africa also interviewed Lindiwe Sibanda, CEO of FANRPAN and Farming First spokesperson, during the G8 and G20 Summits.
Twitter News
We have now reached more than 12,000 followers on Twitter. Thank you for all your support and re-tweets! You can click here to follow @FarmingFirst on Twitter.
Upcoming Events
There are a number of agricultural meetings taking place later this year, many of which Farming First will be attending. These include:

Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change
Hanoi, Vietnam, 3-7 September 2012

African Green Revolution Forum
Arusha, Tanzania, 26-28 September

The Committee on World Food Security
Rome, Italy, 15-20 October 2012

The World Food Prize
Des Moines, Iowa, 17-19 October

United Nations Climate Change Conference — COP18
Doha, Qatar, 26 November - 7 December

A full list of events can be found in Farming First’s events calendar.