Farming First joined a consortium of the world’s leading agricultural organizations today, to discuss agriculture’s role in building a global green economy in the lead up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)
Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD) united around 600 agricultural experts in order to ensure that the new vision for sustainable development outlined at Rio+20 recognizes the importance of agriculture and includes key steps necessary for achieving a sustainable food system. Specific examples of these steps being called for today include:
- Greater integration and broader partnerships amongst sectors – water, energy, crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries
- A commitment to the generation and dissemination of knowledge to improve food systems
- A clear process towards a Sustainable Development Goal for food and agriculture
Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, Chief Executive of the South Africa-based Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), commented:
Rio+20 negotiators must make explicit the link between food security and sustainable development as well as steps needed to ensure farmers, especially smallholders, have dignified livelihoods, can feed their families and have money in their pockets. For this to happen they require conducive policy environments that enable them access to markets and appropriate technology.
ARDD featured keynote speakers, including the Brazilian Minister for the Environment, Izabella Teixeira. Two high-level panel discussions also took place, as well as thirteen participatory “learning events” that shared knowledge from various projects on the ground in the developing world that are already offering lasting solutions to poverty and food and nutrition insecurity. Business representatives also participated in the day event, showing support for increased private investment in agriculture, following on from the $3 billion investment pledged by businesses as part of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition announced by the G8 last month.
Anne Grethe Dalane, Regional Director of Latin America chaired a Farming First Learning Event, entitled “Achieving and measuring sustainable intensification: the role of technology, best practices and partnerships”. She commented on her sector’s role in agriculture for a green economy:
The private sector is an essential player in delivering the technologies, tools and knowledge needed by farmers. Public-private partnerships can play a key role in driving sustainable growth in agricultural productivity.
Rachel Kyte, Vice President for Sustainable Development, World Bank & Chair, CGIAR Fund Council, praised the efforts made by the Agriculture and Rural Development Day Consortium. She commented:
Today we are seeing best practices in action. We know that, if scaled up with speed, these approaches could increase food production and improve livelihoods without damaging the environment. We need to create conditions for innovation and then invest so that innovation moves from the lab to the farmer’s fields.
Food security has been highlighted as one of the seven priority areas of the Rio+20 negotiations. Feeding a global population of 9 billion people by 2050 will require at least a 70% increase in global food production and a 50% rise in investments in the agricultural sector.
Growth from agriculture is at least twice as effective in reducing poverty than any other sector. Through improved management of crops, livestock, soil, water, forests and other natural habitats, smallholder farmers can achieve the triple win of (1) stronger food security with reduced poverty, (2) greater resilience in the face of environmental threats, and (3) more robust rural livelihoods.
Visit the Farming First Green Economy page for infographics and an animated video about the vital role agriculture plays.