ICR at FAO/Food/Farming/Land Use
FAO Publications has produced a book in commemoration of its 70th Anniversary. We all can find some very interesting parts of the book. For a summary of each of the chapters, plus the FOREWARD of the book written by FAO Director General Jose Graziano Da Silva, click here.
The book covers many topics we have been studying and processing in the ICR at FAO Working Group. The authors have come to see that the way people think about hunger is the greatest obstacle to ending it. The backgrounder encapsulate 40 years of learning and in-depth new research to reframe ten such ways of thinking explored in our new book WORLD HUNGER: 10 MYTHS. We call them ‘myths’ because they often lead us down blind alleys or simply aren’t true.”
In October 2013, Timothy A. Wise was awarded an Open Society Fellowship. His one-year project focuses on ways in which U.S. policies distort global corn markets and how those distortions ripple out into the developing world. He is studying not only Mexico and Latin America, areas on which he has written extensively, but also several African countries, including Malawi and Tanzania.
Climate change and the injustice of hunger require urgent attention, and investment in a model of agriculture that is truly sustainable. Agro-ecology is the science of applying ecological concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable agriculture. An agro-ecological approach provides a range of social, economic, and environmental benefits that, with the right policy support and associated investments, can be scaled up to enable smallholder farming communities to achieve food security.
Corporatising Agriculture: World Bank Rankings Facilitate Land Grabs by Alice Martin-Prével, Bretton Woods Project, 09 May 2014
"The World Bank’s 'Doing Business' rankings...score countries according to the ease of doing business. More than 10 years after its launch, evidence shows that the index’s push for liberal reforms, creation of land markets, adoption of investor-friendly regulations, and suppression of trade barriers has provided the intellectual and structural framework that facilitates the trend of large-scale land grabs in developing countries."
The declaration calls on governments and IFAD itself to implement and support the policy outcomes of the CFS, particularly the tenure guidelines and the recommendations on investing in smallholder agriculture.
Soil conservation and land conservation to combat desertification and even further efforts to reclaim degraded land is of utmost importance to achieve both increased food production and enable resource poor farmers and pastoralists to stay on their land. Religious congregation members, who live at village level with people affected by desertification and land degradation can become more aware and then become advocates to ensure that various (national and) international actors such as FAO, World Bank, IMF, etc. do not work at cross purposes in these efforts.
An 18-page article on FAMILY FARMING. It is full of information, simple enough for almost anyone to read and understand. This REPORT is quite readable, accessible language for the non-expert. The REPORT cites FAO documents almost exclusively and also IFAD and other UN Agencies. The Report covers a broad range of issues: Protecting biodiversity and traditional knowledge; Soil & Water, Agro-ecological practices; Climate Change and finally the Social Stability of Smallholder Farming.
An article reporting on a Conference sponsored by CARITAS India to promote the family farmer and family farming. The point is made also that 75% of the food in Asia is produced by small scale family farming. The famers are struggling to preserve their farms and seeds against the pressure of industrial farming.
Food That Nourishes For a Healthy and Holy Life by Order of Friars Minor Conventual, Rome, 2015
The article reports on the first public speech of Special Rapporteur Hilal Elver has made since her appointment to the position. It is significant in helping us understand where her emphasis will be placed—on small farmers and agroecology as contrasted to large monoculture farms and industrial agriculture. It was given almost the same time FAO held a special Symposium on agroecology.
The Report says that says our world food system in unprepared for the connection between hunger/food(in)security and climate change: “….climate change threatens to delay the fight against world hunger for decades.” The Report outlines ten key Policy and practice areas (or gaps) that need attention. The Report notes “that countries currently experiencing high levels of food insecurity also face the greatest risk of climate change impacts.” The Report concludes: “For the next two decades, how well countries adapt to and prepare for climate change impacts on food, and the degree to which the poorest countries are supported in doing so, will determine to a large extent whether and where people will go hungry.”
“At Rodale Institute, we have proven that organic agriculture and, specifically, regenerative organic agriculture can sequester carbon from the atmosphere and reverse climate change. This document outlines those findings. Regenerative organic agriculture refers to working with nature to utilize photosynthesis and healthy soil microbiology to draw down greenhouse gases. With the use of cover crops, compost, crop rotation and reduced tillage, we can actually sequester more carbon than is currently emitted, tipping the needle past 100% to reverse climate change. We know that agriculture has played a role in creating climate chaos but, now, with your help, it can be part of the solution. As pioneers in organic agriculture, Rodale Institute is poised to lead farmers into this new era and we look forward to working with you to share our research and technology throughout the world."—Mark Smallwood, Executive Director
Sir Gordon Conway has a long history as a crop and agriculture scientist. He has come up with a new term, 'sustainable intensification' of agriculture and is speaking and writing to spread this kind of agriculture technology. It is controversial because he says that although most agricultural development will be done by conventional means inevitable some will require Genetic Modification. Sir Gordon preaches and writes that much effort must go into helping farmers use less oil-based fertilizer and herbicides and pesticides and use them more efficiently. He pleads for using natural pest predators, often now also being eliminated by the pesticides being sprayed to eliminate crop destroying pests, much more. He also asks consumers to look at their own habits and eating culture and be prepared to consume less meat for example and eliminate food wastage as much as possible. Read this to be informed if you have not previously heard of 'sustainable intensification' of agriculture.
State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014: FAO Report
The latest FAO estimates indicate that global hunger reduction continues: about 805 million people are estimated to be chronically undernourished in 2012–14, down more than 100 million over the last decade, and 209 million lower than in 1990–92. In the same period, the prevalence of undernourishment has fallen from 18.7 to 11.3 percent globally and from 23.4 to 13.5 percent for developing countries.
An article and a film about soils that speak on ‘the food system’ as it has developed in the USA and in the world and the challenge now to ‘Feed the Future’ with healthy food, from healthy soils for healthy people and healthy communities in a sustainable way. The film was made in 2012 and is 1 hour and 44 minutes long. You can watch the film for free from 4-10 October. Perhaps you can arrange a viewing for members of your congregation/community.
Please show your support by purchasing a copy of The Symphony of the Soil DVD for $20.00.
"In 2013, the World Bank launched the Benchmarking the Business of agriculture (BBa indicator)...private agribusiness investors appear to be the core beneficiaries of the project, which again underlies a push for neoliberal land policy and further deregulation of the agricultural sector. The BBa...is another tool for fostering economic deregulation to benefit corporate interests at the expense of the citizens of developing countries."
This speech by Pope Francis underlies the important role Civil Society Movements play in the CFS (Committee on World Food Security) at FAO. Through the Civil Society Mechanism created by the CFS in 2009, Civil Society Organizations and Movements along with NGOs, the Private Sector and International Institutions play active on-going roles in the development of FAO policies and programs and the Agenda of CFS. In our ICR at FAO Workng Group, we speak of the importance of our congregations at the local and national level being connected to all these groups so we can bring our faith-based values to bear on the discussions at that level and lend our solidarity.
Francis says he has no ‘recipe’ for change (though clearly he is calling for change), but he proposed three tasks that demand a decisive and shared contribution from popular movements:
Put the economy at the service of peoples;
Unite our peoples on the path of justice and peace;
Defend Mother Earth.