Pro­tect­ing en­vi­ron­ment through agri­cul­ture

To­day, it is fun­da­men­tal not only to in­crease food pro­duc­tion, but to do it in a way that does not dam­age the en­vi­ron­ment. Nourishing peo­ple must go hand in hand with nur­tur­ing the planet

Rural & Marketing - - INTERNATIONAL -

To achieve sus­tain­able development we must trans­form cur­rent agri­cul­ture and food sys­tems, in­clud­ing by sup­port­ing small­hold­ers and fam­ily farm­ers, re­duc­ing pes­ti­cide and chem­i­cal use, and im­prov­ing land con­ser­va­tion prac­tices, said Gen­eral José Graziano da Silva, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­ga­ni­za­tion of the United Na­tions (FAO) dur­ing ad­dress­ing Euro­pean law­mak­ers in Brus­sels, Bel­gium.

"Mas­sive agri­cul­ture in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion is con­tribut­ing to in­creased de­for­esta­tion, wa­ter scarcity, soil de­ple­tion and the level of green­house gas emis­sion," Graziano da Silva said. He stressed that while high-in­put and re­source in­ten­sive farm­ing sys­tems have sub­stan­tially in­creased food pro­duc­tion, this has come at a high cost to the en­vi­ron­ment.

"To­day, it is fun­da­men­tal not only to in­crease pro­duc­tion, but to do it in a way that does not dam­age the en­vi­ron­ment. Nourishing peo­ple must go hand in hand with nur­tur­ing the planet," he said. This is in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sus­tain­able Development Goals (SDGs0 and the Paris Agree­ment on Cli­mate Change,” he added.

"We have to move from in­put in­tense to knowl­edge in­tense pro­duc­tion sys­tems," the FAO Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral said.

Fu­ture of food and agri­cul­ture

Speak­ing to mem­bers of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment's Com­mit­tee on Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral Development, Graziano da Silva high­lighted the find­ings of FAO's report. Among the 15 trends de­scribed in the report, are the im­pacts of cli­mate change, con­flicts and mi­gra­tion. The FAO report also fore­sees 10 chal­lenges for achiev­ing food se­cu­rity, im­prov­ing nutri­tion and pro­mot­ing sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture world­wide.

In his ad­dress, he fo­cused on four main is­sues: cli­mate change; the spread of trans­bound­ary pests and dis­eases; food loss and waste; and the im­por­tance of erad­i­cat­ing not only hunger, but all forms of mal­nu­tri­tion in the world.

Ad­dress­ing cli­mate change

Graziano da Silva un­der­scored that no sec­tor is more sen­si­tive to cli­mate change than agri­cul­ture - es­pe­cially for small­hold­ers and fam­ily farm­ers from de­vel­op­ing coun­tries - while at the same time, agri­cul­ture and food sys­tems ac­count for around 30 per­cent of to­tal green­house emis­sions.

"In agri­cul­ture, adap­ta­tion and mit­i­ga­tion go hand in hand. There is no trade-off between the two," the FAO Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral said. He pointed to the need to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions while at the same time build­ing the re­silience and pro­mote the adap­ta­tion of farm­ers to the im­pacts of cli­mate change.

To this end, FAO sup­ports coun­tries through dif­fer­ent ini­tia­tives and ap­proaches, in­clud­ing cli­mate-smart agri­cul­ture, agroe­col­ogy and agro-forestry.

Curb­ing pests and dis­eases

Glob­al­i­sa­tion, trade and cli­mate change, as well as re­duced re­silience in pro­duc­tion sys­tems, have all played a part in dra­mat­i­cally in­creas­ingly the spread of trans­bound­ary pests and dis­eases in re­cent years. Th­ese con­sti­tute a ma­jor threat to the liveli­hoods of farm­ers and the food se­cu­rity of mil­lions of peo­ple.

José Graziano da Silva Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral, FAO In agri­cul­ture, adap­ta­tion and mit­i­ga­tion go hand in hand. There is no trade­off between the two. No sec­tor is more sen­si­tive to cli­mate change than agri­cul­ture, es­pe­cially for small­hold­ers and fam­ily farm­ers from de­vel­op­ing coun­tries

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