Agroecology is the way to go, says UN rapporteur
New UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Calls on Governments to Prioritise Small Farmers and Agroecology
"Food policies which do not address the root causes of world hunger would be bound to fail", said Professor Hilal Elver, the new UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food in her first public speech recently.
Citing that 70% of the food we consume globally is produced by small farmers, Prof. Elver called for a change to “agricultural democracy”. She said, “Currently, most subsidies go to large agribusiness. This must change. Governments must support small farmers….by providing new possibilities and incentives to small farmers, especially for young people in rural areas." In the European Union, about 80% of subsidies and 90% of research funding presently support industrial agriculture.
She said that new scientific research increasingly shows how 'agroecology' offers far more environmentally sustainable methods that can still meet the rapidly growing demand for food.
"Agroecology is a traditional way of using farming methods that are less resource oriented, and which work in harmony with society. New research in agroecology allows us to explore more effectively how we can use traditional knowledge to protect people and their environment at the same time”, explained Prof. Elver.
Her speech comes in conjunction with the FAO’s International Symposium on Agroecology for Food and Nutrition Security that was held on 18-19 September in Rome, which many hope signals a new direction the organization is taking in eradicating global hunger.
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UN: ONLY SMALL FARMERS AND AGROECOLOGY CAN FEED THE WORLD
Governments must shift subsidies and research funding from agro-industrial monoculture to small farmers using 'agroecological' methods, according to the UN's Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. And as Nafeez Ahmed notes, her call coincides with a new agroecology initiative within the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation.
This is critical for future agricultural policies. Currently, most subsidies go to large agribusiness. This must change. Governments must support small farmers.