FAO chief says while past developments in agriculture have led to major improvements in productivity, “progress has been uneven” and that “greater emphasis must be placed on the social and environmental dimensions of sustainability”
On the occasion of the biannual meeting of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Committee on Agriculture (COAG), Director General José Graziano da Silva said the agricultural sector must transform itself to help address climate change and antimicrobial resistance.
In his speech, the director general pointed out that “agriculture is at the very heart” of a recent series of international agreements, including the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris climate change agreement.
“Sustainable agriculture is paramount to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, to sustain natural resources, to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change, to achieve healthier food systems and to build resilience against crises and natural disasters,” Graziano da Silva added.
The FAO chief said while past developments in agriculture have led to major improvements in productivity, “progress has been uneven” and that “greater emphasis must be placed on the social and environmental dimensions of sustainability”.
On this occasion, Sierra Leone’s Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security Monty Patrick Jones said that in Africa boosting agricultural productivity in a sustainable way was not only essential for food and nutrition security, but is also critical to eradicating poverty.
In particular, small-holder farmers “should produce food not just for the table, but also for the market,” he added.
Joachim von Braun, director of University of Bonn’s Center for Development Research, underscored the need for scientific innovation in agriculture to go hand-in-hand with policy reform.
“Agriculture and food systems are transforming, and that must be supported by a sound cooperation between science and policy,” von Braun said.
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