Community garden in Niou, Burkina Faso - Photo WVC 1997-12.

UNCTAD in favor of small-scale farming

Photo credit: WVC 1997-12

Community garden in the village of Niou, Burkina Faso

UN Report Says Small-Scale Organic Farming Only Way to Feed the World

Transformative changes are needed in our food, agriculture and trade systems in order to increase diversity on farms, reduce our use of fertilizer and other inputs, support small-scale farmers and create strong local food systems. That’s the conclusion of a remarkable new publication from the U.N. Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Belgian youngsters helping the local farmers in Niou - Photo WVC 1997-12
Belgian youngsters helping the local farmers with weeding in Niou – Photo WVC 1997-12

The report, Trade and Environment Review 2013: Wake Up Before it is Too Late, included contributions from more than 60 experts around the world (including a commentary from IATP). The report includes in-depth sections on the shift toward more sustainable, resilient agriculture; livestock production and climate change; the importance of research and extension; the role of land use; and the role of reforming global trade rules.

Belgian TC-Dialogue project in Niou: refprestation with the TerraCottem soil conditioner - Photo WVC 1997-12.
Belgian TC-Dialogue project in Niou: refprestation with the TerraCottem soil conditioner – Photo WVC 1997-12.

The report links global security and escalating conflicts with the urgent need to transform agriculture toward what it calls “ecological intensification.” The report concludes, “This implies a rapid and significant shift from conventional, monoculture-based and high-external-input-dependent industrial production toward mosaics of sustainable, regenerative production systems that also considerably improve the productivity of small-scale farmers.”

Sorghum fields in Niou: Foreground= non-treated; Background= treated with the soil conditioner TerraCottem - Photo WVC 2000-07-02.
Sorghum fields in Niou: Foreground= non-treated; Background= treated with the soil conditioner TerraCottem – Photo WVC 2000-07-02.

The UNCTAD report identified key indicators for the transformation needed in agriculture:

Read the full article: MINDS

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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