CFS 45 Side Event

The Future of Farming

Wednesday, October 17, 13:00 to 14:30
Philippines Room, FAO

Background

The UN General Assembly Resolution on Agricultural Technology for Sustainable Development includes the following statement on agroecological principles: 

“[The General Assembly recognizes] the need to further enhance the linkages between agricultural technology and agroecological principles, such as recycling, resource use efficiency, reducing external inputs, diversification, integration, soil health and synergies, in order to design sustainable farming systems that strengthen the interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment for food security and nutrition, enhance productivity, improve nutrition, conserve the natural resource base and attain more sustainable and innovative food systems.”

The full Resolution is accessible here.

Summary

Are innovation and agroecology capable of working hand-in-hand? Is the future dependent on integrated solutions to agriculture? In this side event, each panelist addressed a specific area of innovation as defined by the UN General Assembly Resolution on Agricultural Technology for Sustainable Development’s statement on agroecological principles: recycling, resource use efficiency, optimizing inputs, diversification, integration, and soil health. They explored how agroecology and other innovations - the topic of an upcoming CFS HLPE report - work together throughout the food value chain, from microbes to satellites. 

Th panelists presented examples of innovations to advance agroecological outcomes that apply to farms of all sizes and in all regions. Then, they scoped out how to design sustainable farming systems that strengthen the interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment for food security and nutrition. During the Q&A, the audience explored questions of innovation for enhanced productivity, improved nutrition, conservation of the natural resource base, and other topics. 

Featured Speakers

  • Nancy Muchiri, Communications Lead, African Agricultural Technology Foundation
  • Otmane Bennani-Smires, Deputy General Counsel, OCP Group
  • Craige Mackenzie, Dairy and Cropping Farmer, Global Farmer Network
  • Agusdina Diaz Valdez, Veterinary Sciences Student, World Farmers’ Organisation
  • Chris Noble, Co-owner, Noblehurst Farms
  • Rick White, General Manager, Canadian Canola Growers Association

Key Outcomes

  • Technology is an important tool to ensure that farmers can produce more food with less external resources. Farmers have successfully integrated innovation throughout the various stages of crop production to better use soil nutrients, to increase plant survival rates, to maximize crop inputs, to make informed decisions, and to reduce loss at harvest and storage.
  • South-South cooperation with fellow African countries is essential to contribute to Africa’s agricultural development. This development puts front and center the manufacturing of customized fertilizers, which are better for farmers in terms of yields and prices. These are the results of thorough research and development with local institutions to ensure that there is a lot of value-added production locally.
  • Appropriate fertilizer use is crucial for agricultural productivity. Customized fertilization, using data tools and land mapping, has incredible potential to increase yields while reducing the undesirable potential effects of fertilizer use. 
  • Agroecology is all about helping farmers to be good environmental stewards in a way that makes sense in their context. Agroecological practices, when correctly interpreted and implemented, can be a true triple win: for farmers, for consumers of the goods they produce, and for the planet. 
  • Precision nutrient management should not be seen as a technology that only farmers in the developed world can harness. There are many adaptations that make the benefits of precision nutrient management accessible and sustainable for all farmers. 
  • Countries, the private sector, the public sector, and research organizations must collaborate to develop policies and practices that put agroecological practices within reach of all food producers. 

Organizers

The Future of Farming

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