World leaders are calling for more funding against global hunger and food insecurity. This past week, representatives from the Americas, Africa, Indonesia and Europe met at the UN Summit on Global Food Security and affirmed their commitment to “act with urgency, at scale and in concert, to respond to the urgent food security and nutrition needs of hundreds of millions of people around the world.” Food shortages, rising food and energy prices, drought, flooding and poor harvests, and conflicts are disrupting world food supply chains and dramatically increasing global food insecurity. This message was reinforced by agricultural industry leaders who predict it will take two or more years of good harvests in the Americas to ease pressure on the global food supply chain. Food systems and global food and nutrition security are at a critical juncture. Emergency humanitarian food assistance responses are needed to deliver foods to those in greatest need. Yet, handing out food will not be enough.
We must invest in resilient food and agricultural systems that not only can manage the day-to-day immediate crises and shocks to food systems and livelihoods, but also can simultaneously plan, adjust and embrace changes that will enable our farm enterprises to bounce forward into a better future. Farmers, fishers, foresters and their communities, and their countries must have the resources and capacities to innovate so they can produce their own food and food for others. Solutions from the Land farmers in their 21st Century Agriculture Renaissance report Renaissance Report – Solutions from the Land lay out a long-term strategic framework for building this kind of local and global capacity at many scales. These high priority system-level actions include 1) develop and enable diversified sustainable intensification production strategies, 2) improve how we manage the water cycle via infrastructure and practices, 3) integrate climate adaptation and mitigation strategies in climate smart agriculture and food systems, 4) produce beyond food security goals to grow nutritious healthy foods, 5) create new markets for ecosystem services, 6) use outcome goals and metrics and harmonize conflicting policy frameworks, 7) provide financial assistance and incentives for scale appropriate farm, fisheries and forest practices, technologies and innovations, 8) incorporate indigenous and local knowledge with science-based technical knowledge, 9) involve, educate, encourage and equip farmers, fishers, and foresters to participate in policy and research agendas, and 10) transform and modernize technical assistance and information networks.
The SfL strategic framework aligns well with the Summit on Global Food Security Declaration of Leaders seven-point declaration Declaration of Leaders’ Summit on Global Food Security – U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Italy (usembassy.gov) Five of the seven specific lines of action go beyond humanitarian aid to explicitly call for improved functioning and productiveness of local and global food systems to ensure food availability and access. These food system strategies are intended 1) to accelerate sustainable agriculture and food systems, 2) increase fertilizer production and efficiencies, 3) keep food, fertilizer, and agricultural markets open, 4) monitor markets that affect food systems, and 5) increase investments in research and technologies.
Sustainable agricultural production is key to eliminating global hunger, food and nutrition insecurity. Underlying food and nutrition security are robust, resilient food systems; and underlying these food systems are resilient and innovative farmers who produce our food.
Wholeheartedly endorses these strategies and our farmer envoys will be advocating for their wide adoption at the upcoming FAO Committee on Food Security annual meeting next month in Rome CFS: CFS 50 – Food and Agriculture Organization.