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December 5th, 2017 / BIZ-Community, South Africa

“The future of agriculture is not input-intensive, but knowledge-intensive. This is the new paradigm,” says FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva

Food production increased over the last decades, but at a high cost to the environment, generating deforestation, water scarcity, soil depletion and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, he said. From now on, “nourishing people must go hand in hand with nurturing the planet.”

“Current food systems have been shown to be inefficient to eradicate hunger in the world,” Graziano da Silva said, noting that actual output is more than enough to feed the entire global population yet still more than 800 million people are undernourished.

Making sure everyone has access to food is as important if not more than focusing on increasing production, he said, noting that social protection programmes – such as conditional cash transfers and harnessing local production to school meals to boost both nutrition and smallholder farmers’ access to markets – must be a core part of any effort to keep the situation of poor rural people in developing countries from worsening.

“We need to promote innovation and implement sustainable practices that provide nutritious and accessible food, ecosystem services and climate-change resilience at the same time,” Graziano da Silva said.

That entails reducing the use of pesticides and chemicals in farming, increasing crop diversification and improving land conservation practices, among other measures. FAO has actively supported promising efforts in this regard, including climate-smart agriculture and the establishment and protection of agricultural heritage systems, as well as various agroecology practices. Read more