Stories tagged: Argentina

Farmer Voices: Santiago del Solar, Argentina

Our goal at Farming First is not only to unite the numerous stakeholders in global agriculture, such as scientists, development organisations and the private sector, but also to make the disparate voices of farmers around the world heard. Argentinean agronomist and farmer, Santiago del Solar, accompanied Farming First to the Rio+20 negotiations, to take part in the great debate. His previous experience as President of Maizar, the Argentine Corn and Sorghum Association, and his daily work running his family farms in the province of Buenos Aires, producing corn, soybeans, wheat and barley, made him a valuable spokesperson at the World Summit, and able to express the issues most important to farmers in the field.

In a recent article in La Nacion, Santiago documented his experience at Rio+20. Pleased that the world recognises farmers will be the ones to eradicate hunger, and with the wide acceptance for all types of agriculture, from traditional to modern practices, he commented:

Hunger is not an insoluble punishment, it is quite the opposite. With political action and the correct distribution of resources, we can get out of this great disaster.

Citing the FAO’s prediction that it will cost 30 billion USD per year to eradicate hunger, Santiago also pointed out that this figure pales into insignificance, against the 300 billion USD dedicated to agricultural subsidies, or indeed the trillions of dollars given over to banking bailouts.

It is also true that hunger is a much more complicated issue than one that can simply be solved with money. Local initiatives such as Argentina’s Nutricion 10 Hambre Cero are more along the lines of thought expressed at Rio+20.

What can Argentina do specifically in the face of this global challenge?

First we must realise we are one of the countries the world considers able to increase food production. Today, Argentina is capable of feeding 410 million people, and has population of only 40 million. But we are still so far from deploying all the large-scale, sustainable tools we have. Agricultural output in Argentina cannot and must not stagnate. In 2050 the world population will reach 9 billion and we all have the right to adequate food. We must be one of the countries that answers this 9 billion people question.

Farming First also interviewed Santiago on site at Rio+20, where he talked about the different farming practices used in Argentina, and how collaboration will be the answer to solving the global challenge of hunger. Watch more expert interviews at

Interactive Map Celebrates Agriculture’s Success Stories Across the World

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has just launched an interactive world map highlighting some of the many success stories in agricultural development from around the world.  It is part of a wider upcoming launch of their newest publication, Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development, which will be released on 12 November.

The interactive map allows viewers to explore case studies of how agricultural research has benefited individual countries and regions.  Each case study identifies key periods of time, target regions, and a more detailed account of each intervention.  It also provides additional links to related case studies from elsewhere.

The range of case studies includes:

  • Combating cassava diseases in Nigeria and Ghana: This programme has contributed to 40% yield increases and has benefited 29 million local people
  • Introducing zero-tillage agriculture in Argentina: This practice has improved soil fertility, created new agricultural jobs, and helped keep global soybean prices low
  • Improving mungbean yields and resilience in south Asia: Introducing new varieties of mungbeans has helped improve yields, shorten maturity times, and increase resilience to pests to the extent that global production increased by 35% over the past 25 years.

There are many more case studies on the site, which helps create a visual cue for understanding agriculture’s advancements since the mid-20th century.

Conservation Agriculture

The combination of crop protection products and biotech crops has significantly helped advance conservation agriculture as a means of restoring and protecting soil and limiting erosion.

It is estimated that conservation agriculture can reduce soil erosion by 50 to 98 percent while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent through reduced oxidation of soil organic matter. No till is now being utilized on more than 95 million hectares, mostly in the USA, Brazil, Argentina, China, Canada and Paraguay.

No till farming in the USA doubled in the five year period following the introduction of herbicide-tolerant soybeans. It is estimated that this led to the preservation of 247 million tons of topsoil and 243 million gallons of fuel in 2002 alone.