UN Report: Agroecology Can Double Food Production in 10 Years

j. eric smith jnerics at gmail.com
Thu Mar 17 19:14:50 EDT 2011

Mike and Steve, I have put together a design over the past couple of years.
My thinking has become much more focused into a concrete proposal that I
think is sound and needed to address what has now clearly emerged. I've been
at the Rodale Institute for the past year but am free now and looking for
something to do. If you wish send me an address and I'll mail a copy to you
and you can see what you think. Thanks, Eric Smith

On Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 3:33 PM, Michael Burns <
michael at fingerlakespermaculture.org> wrote:

> From: "Elizabeth Henderson" <elizabethhenderson13 at GMAIL.COM>
> *8 March 2011 *
> *Agroecology Can Double Food Production in 10 Years, says new UN report*
> GENEVA, 8 March 2011 – Small-scale farmers can double food production
> within
> 10 years in critical regions by using ecological methods, a new UN report*
> shows. Based on an extensive review of the recent scientific literature,
> the
> study calls for a fundamental shift towards agroecology as a way to boost
> food production and improve the situation of the poorest.
> “To feed 9 billion people in 2050, we urgently need to adopt the most
> efficient farming techniques available,” says Olivier De Schutter, UN
> Special Rapporteur on the right to food and author of the report. “Today’s
> scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecological methods outperform the
> use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production where the hungry
> live -- especially in unfavorable environments.”
> Agroecology applies ecological science to the design of agricultural
> systems
> that can help put an end to food crises and address climate-change and
> poverty challenges. It enhances soils productivity and protects the crops
> against pests by relying on the natural environment such as beneficial
> trees, plants, animals and insects.
> “To date, agroecological projects have shown an average crop yield increase
> of 80% in 57 developing countries, with an average increase of 116% for all
> African projects,” De Schutter says. “Recent projects conducted in 20
> African countries demonstrated a doubling of crop yields over a period of
> 3-10 years.”
> “Conventional farming relies on expensive inputs, fuels climate change and
> is not resilient to climatic shocks. It simply is not the best choice
> anymore today,” De Schutter stresses. “A large segment of the scientific
> community now acknowledges the positive impacts of agroecology on food
> production, poverty alleviation and climate change mitigation -- and this
> this is what is needed in a world of limited resources. Malawi, a country
> that launched a massive chemical fertilizer subsidy program a few years
> ago,
> is now implementing agroecology, benefiting more than 1.3 million of the
> poorest people, with maize yields increasing from 1 ton/ha to 2-3 tons/ha.”
> The report also points out that projects in Indonesia, Vietnam and
> Bangladesh recorded up to 92 % reduction in insecticide use for rice,
> leading to important savings for poor farmers. “Knowledge came to replace
> pesticides and fertilizers. This was a winning bet, and comparable results
> abound in other African, Asian and Latin American countries,” the
> independent expert notes.
> “The approach is also gaining ground in developed countries such as United
> States, Germany or France,” he said. “However, despite its impressive
> potential in realizing the right to food for all, agroecology is still
> insufficiently backed by ambitious public policies and consequently hardly
> goes beyond the experimental stage.”
> The report identifies a dozen of measures that States should implement to
> scale up agroecological practices.
> “Agroecology is a knowledge-intensive approach. It requires public policies
> supporting agricultural research and participative extension services,” De
> Schutter says. “States and donors have a key role to play here. Private
> companies will not invest time and money in practices that cannot be
> rewarded by patents and which don’t open markets for chemical products or
> improved seeds.”
> The Special Rapporteur on the right to food also urges States to support
> small-scale farmer’s organizations, which demonstrated a great ability to
> disseminate the best agroecological practices among their members.
> “Strengthening social organization proves to be as impactful as
> distributing
> fertilizers. Small-scale farmers and scientists can create innovative
> practices when they partner”, De Schutter explains.
> “We won’t solve hunger and stop climate change with industrial farming on
> large plantations. The solution lies in supporting small-scale farmers’
> knowledge and experimentation, and in raising incomes of smallholders so as
> to contribute to rural development.”
> “If key stakeholders support the measures identified in the report, we can
> see a doubling of food production within 5 to 10 years in some regions
> where
> the hungry live,” De Schutter says. “Whether or not we will succeed this
> transition will depend on our ability to learn faster from recent
> innovations. We need to go fast if we want to avoid repeated food and
> climate disasters in the 21st century.”
> *(*)*  *The report “Agro-ecology and the right to food” was presented today
> before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. This document is available in
> English, French, Spanish, Chinese and Russian at: www.srfood.org and
> http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/food/annual.htm*
> *END*
> Olivier De Schutter was appointed the Special Rapporteur on the right to
> food in May 2008 by the United Nations Human Rights Council. He is
> independent from any government or organization.
> For more information on the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur,
> visit: www.srfood.org or
> http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/food/index.htm
> *Press contacts:*
> Olivier De Schutter: Tel. <%2B32.488%2048%2020%2004>+32.488 48 20 04 /
> E-mail:
> olivier.deschutter at uclouvain.be
> Ulrik Halsteen (OHCHR):  Tel: <%2B41%2022%20917%2093%2023>+41 22 917 93 23/ E-mail:
> uhalsteen at ohchr.org
> --
> Frederic Janssens
> Communication Assistant
> UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
> College Thomas More, Place Montesquieu 2 (Bte 15)
> B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
> Tel : + 0032 (0)493 24 88 38
> Website : www.srfood.org
> --
> The Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute
> offers workshops, apprenticeships, and
> permaculture design certificate classes.
> http://www.fingerlakespermaculture.org
> --
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