Food security and climate change, FAO presentation at the European Parliament, 1 December 2010

Climate-smart-agricultureFAO made a presentation on 1st December 2010 at the European Parliament dinner debate on “Food security and climate change” hosted by Giles Chichester for the EU Parliament, and EPSO (European Plant Science Organization). Was present the Research Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, MEPs, and high ranked policy makers from DG RTD, DEV,AGRI, ENTR.

The debate was on the challenges and how to address them by research and innovation for developing countries and Europe. Shivaji Pandey, FAO Director of the Plant Production and Protection Division presented the global food situation and the technologies to apply as part of the solution as developed in the report “Climate-smart Agriculture” (PDF, 5.7mb).

Agriculture in developing countries must become ‘climate-smart’ in order to cope with the combined challenge of feeding a warmer, more heavily populated world. Climate change is expected to reduce agriculture productivity, stability and incomes in many areas that already experience high levels of food insecurity, and could have an impact on the global security. Increasing agricultural production, reducing post harvest losses, and improving food distribution channels in the developing countries will remain the major challenges.

Agriculture needs to produce more food, waste less, and make it easier for farmers to get their produce to consumers. Farming must become more resilient to disruptive events like floods and droughts. Improving agriculture’s management and use of natural resources like water, land and forests, soil nutrients and genetic resources are keys. Agriculture has to find ways to reduce its environmental impacts — including lowering its own greenhouse gas emissions — without compromising food security and rural development.

We need to invest more in research and development of appropriate technologies, and incentives to ensure adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices. Funding should be allocated to the neglected national agricultural extension services, which will have a key role to play in supporting farmers in their transition to climate-smart agriculture. The Farmer Field School system pioneered by FAO offers an additional channel for promoting knowledge transfer and adoption of climate-smart farming techniques.
An interview of Shivaji Pandey on the importance of plant genetic resources in the transition to climate smart agriculture is available here.