CFS 46 Side Event

The Future of Farming - Innovation and Agroecology: A Path to Sustainability

Monday, October 14, 18:00 to 19:30
Green Room, FAO


Moderator: H.E Maria Cristina Boldorini, Permanent Representative of Argentina
Patience Koku, Global Farmer Network
Matteo Leonardi, API
Juan Minvielle, Maizall
David Yeh, Bayer
Luciano Loman, Nuffield International and Metos
Tara van der Dussen, Global Dairy Platform, New Mexico Milkmaid

Main Themes

Are innovation and agroecology capable of working hand-in-hand? How are farmers changing agriculture practices through innovation and achieving environmental outcomes? As CFS begins work on Agroecology and Other Innovations, a panel of farmers and producers share ways they work together right from a farm to crops. Panelists presented some of their best examples of innovations to advance the agroecological outcomes in areas the UN is calling for including: recycling, resource use efficiency, optimizing inputs, diversification, integration, and soil health.

Discussions included on-farm solutions and how to design sustainable farming systems that strengthen the interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment for food security and nutrition. Farmers are attaining more sustainable and innovative food systems using new technologies.

Summary of Key Points

Farmers have been charged with the greatest challenge of our generation – feeding the growing population with less. Innovation is one of the main drivers for farmers to become more sustainable. New technologies such as precision farming, biotech seeds and genome edited crops offer opportunities to further improve soil health and our environment. Real-time information and Artificial intelligence (AI) already allow great optimization in food production, minimizing negative environmental impacts, saving costs and also improving production quality. No one technology is better than the other, many factors need to play into which technology is used. There is a huge urgency needed to allow people to have access to the right tools.

It is important for farmers to learn about and test new and sustainable farming practices. Patience Koku, farmer from Nigeria and member of Global Farmer Network, has created a swap program in Nigeria where farmers are able to share resources. This includes swapping food for cattle with manure for fields. This helps them incorporate more for less money. Innovation is needed for better use of resources.

Key Take Away Messages 

- We cannot rely on just one strategy. If we want to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, we need a variety of approaches and tools to choose from.
- 820 million people are malnourished – we need to consider the different backgrounds and tools available to the different countries. We need to be open to listen to others and other systems. It is important to use data to help steer these decisions.
- You cannot manage what you don’t measure – technology and innovation is now giving us the tools necessary to measure.
- It is important to take the chance and make the change in order to experiment and make things more efficient.
- It’s important to listen to each other. We must become more transparent and enter into a dialogue with stakeholders.

You can download photos from the event on the FAO Flickr account here.


Tomorrow, Oct 28, PSM Chair Rick White will be speaking as part of the WTO’s Trade Dialogues on Food. The dialogues…
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