Multiple solutions urged to increase agricultural productivity
Friday, May 23, 2008, 09:59
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is urging COP-9 negotiators to consider multiple solutions as the most effective way to spread sustainable agricultural practices needed to feed a growing world population, ICC said in a press release.
“A one-size-fits-all solution does not exist, but there are many effective strategies and they must be supported and replicated to become part of the agricultural mainstream,” said ICC Secretary General Guy Sebban. “Business and industry are contributing their expertise at COP-9 to address the challenges of agriculture and biodiversity,” he added.
To that end, ICC is urging governments to make major investments in agriculture to increase productivity while enhancing biodiversity on farms, and where necessary, to put in place an institutional framework that supports business engagement and investment in sustainable agricultural technologies and practices.
“Governments need to provide support mechanisms, including payments for ecosystem services and for maintaining agricultural landscapes. After all, farmers are custodians of the world’s agricultural biodiversity,” said Jack Wilkinson, President of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers.
Wilkinson will be a keynote speaker during an ICC panel discussion that will take place on
22 May, to celebrate International Biodiversity Day, which this year focuses on biodiversity and agriculture. During this side event, panelists will showcase ways that farmers and the private sector can contribute to raising agricultural output while integrating biodiversity conservation.
Since the 1960s, agricultural technologies from plant breeding and nutrition, to irrigation and pest management, have dramatically raised major crop yields some two to three-fold and prevented the destruction of vast amounts of natural habitat, as yields increased on the land already cropped. In addition, integrated crop management, a holistic approach using methods such as creating field margins, and effective water and energy management, have also proven to be highly effective and attuned to the complex environment of agricultural ecosystems.
“Managing land in a sensible way by replicating tested and proven solutions is the way to achieve agricultural intensification sustainably,” said Annik Dollacker, Co-Chair of ICC’s Task Force on the Convention on Biological Diversity.
“Despite the warning bells ringing on food security, the good news is that there is enormous potential to increase agricultural outputs, as yields differ significantly among regions of the world,” she added. “The private sector urges an all-out effort by the international community. Let us share what we know and build on the best.”
ICC will be the lead representative of business at COP-9 with a delegation of 40 members from companies and business associations. The world business organization has been involved in the negotiations towards the creation of an international framework for biodiversity since the Convention on Biological Diversity negotiations began. (press release)