We need a paradigm shift in agriculture

Photo credit: UN News Centre

Agriculture workers collect carrots on a farm in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann

Agriculture must change, UN agency chief tells Paris summit, urging ‘paradigm shift’

The model of agricultural production that predominates today is not suitable for the new food security challenges of the 21st century and the need to be more sustainable, inclusive and resilient, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today.

“Since food production is not a sufficient condition for food security, it means that the way we are producing is no longer acceptable,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva told ministers, scientists, farmers, and members of civil society at the France-hosted International Forum on Agriculture and Climate Change held in Paris.

“What we are still mostly seeing is a model of production that cannot prevent the degradation of soils and the loss of biodiversity – both of which are essential goods, especially for future generations. This model must be reviewed. We need a paradigm shift,” he added.

According to the FAO, the numbers of the chronically hungry have been reduced by 100 million over the past decade, but there are still 805 million people without enough to eat on a regular basis. Increasing production is no longer enough to end hunger. It is evident today that even though the world produces enough food to feed everyone, hunger remains a problem.

Agriculture has a large role to play in food security, building resilience to the effects of climate change and reducing humankind’s emissions of global warming gases.

Read the full article: UN News Centre

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.