Advocates call on Rio+20 participants to embrace sustainable ag
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BRAZIL, June 18,2012 - A final communique issued at the conclusion Monday of an Agriculture and Rural Development Day ‑ an event leading up to the UN Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil this week - says a new vision for sustainable development that recognizes the significance of agriculture in economic growth, food security, poverty reduction and long-term environmental sustainability must be advanced.
Nearly one thousand people, half in person and half participating virtually, committed to work together toward a sustainable global food system and said agreed that agriculture must be at the heart of the green economy.
To feed a global population of 9 billion people by 2050 will require a 60 to 70% increase in global food production and a 50% rise in investments in food, agriculture and rural development, the communique said, adding that “unabated climate change could cost the world at least 5% of GDP each year and seriously undermine the ability of small-scale farmers to provide food for their families and national and global markets.”
Event organizers said that over the past two decades Brazil and other countries have produced solid evidence that the farming, livestock, fisheries, and forestry sectors offer lasting solutions to poverty and food and nutrition insecurity. “We must help farmers to increase the production and marketing of a wide diversity of adapted and nutritious crops, through basic agronomic research, strengthened land and water rights, increased access to markets, finance and insurance, better access to advisory services and enhanced local capacity,” they said in the statement.
“Closing yield gaps while sustainably intensifying agricultural production on the existing land base is our best pathway to conserving the natural systems underlying agricultural productivity and human wellbeing,” the communique stated. “A renewed global commitment to sustainability at Rio+20 will miss the mark if it does not explicitly address the needs and opportunities in agriculture.”
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