By Denise Martínez Breto
No other accounts on the reality of growing crops, harvesting and selling food could ever be as genuine as those coming from the farmers themselves. In a two-hour dedicated Learning event on food losses and waste during the Agriculture and Rural Development Day farmers from Uganda, FAO members and private sector organizations zoomed in on food thrown out or squandered in both developed and developing countries.
One-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption is either lost or thrown away, together with the natural resources used for its production. Although food losses occur at all stages of the food supply chain the causes and their impact around the world differ. In developing countries, food losses hit small farmers the hardest. Almost 65 percent of these food losses happen at the production, post harvest, and processing stages. In industrialized countries, food waste often occurs at the retail and consumer level due to a “throw-away” mindset.
By Cecilia Schubert
As world food demand increases, so too does demand for farmland. Agricultural expansion threatens valuable forests and biodiversity, contributing to climate change and destroying precious ecosystems. Seeing as a country’s GDP growth from agriculture generates at least twice as much poverty reduction than any other sector, and 40 percent of the world’s population is engaged in farming, agriculture must be viewed as key for economic growth, food security, poverty reduction and environmental sustainability. Agriculture has huge potential in contributing to the solution, instead of only be seen as part of the problem. Is intensification the silver-bullet solution?
By Cecilia Schubert
Biofuel is hot commodity, and the private sector is looking at small-scale farms in developing countries to help produce crops to feed the industry. Understandably, this is causing controversy, with accusations of land-grabbing by private companies, and fears that farmers may swop food crops for more profitable biofuel crops, increasing their risk of hunger. But what is actually happening behind the headlines? Can farmers really benefit from the investments or will they only jeopardize food security and degrade the environment? Is it really a fair deal for everyone involved?
by Vanessa Meadu
Are farmers part of the ‘Future we Want’? After two years of consultations capped off by two intensive weeks of sessions and negotiations, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (aka. Rio+20) has produced a 53-page document outlining a renewed vision for sustainable development and commitment “to ensuring the promotion of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for our planet and for present and future generations.” Sustainable agriculture, food security and smallholder farmers are now formally part of that equation. Read more »
By Vanessa Meadu
In a world that is becoming increasingly food-insecure, due to population growth, climate change, volatile food prices, unequal food access, and inefficient supply chains, what solutions exist to feed 9 billion people by the year 2050?
The problem we face is by its nature very complex, so it stands to reason that solutions will need to address a range of issues, often several at once. Where do we begin?
by Vanessa Meadu
A coalition of agriculture research and development organisations is working hard to put food and farming front-and-centre in next month’s Rio+20 conference, where world leaders will decide on the future framework for sustainable development.
Twenty years ago, the first United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development helped give birth to major international environmental treaties such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The 1992 meeting also shaped international and national discourse and environmental policies, and helped root the concept of sustainable development firmly into the mainstream. While even the UN environment chief has 'mixed' feelings as to whether the world has indeed achieved the goals laid out in 1992, it is certain that this year’s conference will help shape how sustainable development policies unfold for the next generation. Sustainable agriculture must not be left out. Read more »
CCAFS Coordinating Unit - University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Rolighedsvej 21, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark, phone +45 35331046; Email ccafs [at] cgiar [dot] org, EAN 5790000279012
Lead Center - International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)