Stories tagged: sustainable

Farming First Release: Innovation and Incentives for Farmers Needed to Protect World’s Biodiversity

Farming First Press Release in Recognition of International Day of Biological Diversity:

Farming First calls on governments to enable agricultural innovation and empower farmers to safeguard the world’s biodiversity while increasing global food production.

Sustainable agricultural production needs to be achieved through both accelerated research programmes and broader uptake of existing technologies by farmers.   Public-private partnerships are key to identifying and addressing these innovation gaps as well as disseminating effective agricultural tools and technologies to farmers.

Ajay Vashee, President of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) says:

Government leaders need to recognise how interconnected agriculture and biodiversity protection are. Today’s farmers are the true stewards of our global ecosystem.

The twin challenge of conserving ecosystems while ensuring future food security means that the role of the farmer is more crucial than ever. With 2.3 billion more mouths to feed by 2050, food production must increase by 70 per cent, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation, despite the threats of climate change and limited availability of natural resources.

Like biodiversity, agriculture benefits from fertile soils, fresh water and natural predators, and farmers can also play a role in maintaining natural habitats and other ecosystem services.

Luc Maene, Director General of the International Fertilizer Industry Assocation says:

Farmers around the world are facing competing pressures to grow more food while preserving the world’s biodiversity.  To succeed, agriculture and biodiversity conservation efforts must walk hand in hand.

The Farming First coalition supports the following principles for protecting biodiversity through agriculture:

  • Safeguarding natural resources through sustainable agricultural practices such as sustainable use of land, water and energy resources, conservation agriculture, cultivation of local species and giving value to marginal areas such as wetlands and forests.
  • Sharing knowledge of agriculture’s role in preserving biodiversity through stewardship programmes for farmers and government mechanisms for incentivising biodiversity-friendly practices.
  • Building local access to agricultural tools and infrastructure which help protect biodiversity, such as multi-cropping systems or crop rotation, without jeopardising agricultural production.
  • Protecting harvests by building storage facilities and transport mechanisms, whilst providing support to farmers in managing weather variations and minimising the amount of yield lost to prevent further expansion in land used for agriculture.
  • Enabling access to markets via payment incentives for ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, reforestation, measures against desertification and other sustainable land management practices as well as developing and supporting markets for underutilised local species which encourage local biodiversity.
  • Prioritising research imperatives by addressing both farmers’ needs and the specificities of local ecosystems as well as factoring in farmers’ local expertise and providing resources such as seed banks.

New Initiative to Boost Agriculture Prioritises Public-Private Partnerships

Picture 3At the World Economic Forum 2010, a new initiative to accelerate growth in sustainable agriculture was announced.  The project, ‘A New Vision for Agriculture’ aims to enhance public-private collaborations among stakeholders throughout the industry.

Indicating the role of agricultural investment in the recovery of the global economy, the initiative was set up by industry, governments, multilateral organisations and civil society.  A Project Board from the World Economic Forum will provide leadership to the initiative and the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Food Security will also offer guidance, whose global leaders will help to provide a network on which to build partnerships.

The initiative aims to develop a sustainable agri-food system that will be able to provide enough food for the projected 9.2 billion people in 2050 whilst meeting environmental sustainability goals.  Recognising the extent to which action needs to be taken, the initiative will focus itself on bringing together the capacities of both the public and private sectors to address issues such as:

  • Increasing investment in agriculture.
  • Improving stewardship practices of safeguarding natural resources.
  • Building infrastructure and improving policies to enable farmers’ access to markets.
  • Maximising the economic growth opportunities provided by agriculture.

‘A New Vision for Agriculture’ intends to provide a platform for key high-level leaders to share insights, offer advice and recommendations and support existing initiatives that show promising opportunities for collaboration and scaling.