Agriculture Emerges as Bright Spot on Rio Horizon

Posted on 21 June 2012 by admin

By Claudia Ciobanu

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jun 21 (TerraViva) Agriculture and food security are one area where experts say that even a more general level of agreement, as reached in the final Rio+20 declaration, constitutes progress.

Peruvian farmer Inocencia Chipana shows her coffee beans outside a cooperative warehouse. Credit: Milagros Salazar/IPS

“The European Union considers that the Rio final agreement could have gone much further, (but) when it comes to agriculture and food security, I think the document is consistent enough in that the importance of small family farming for improving global food security is properly recognised,” EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos told TerraViva.

According to the commissioner, the main value of the Rio agreement for global food security is that it acknowledges that this is an issue that needs to be addressed from economic, environmental and social points of view and that international collective efforts are needed in this direction.

Other positive aspects in the agreement, according to Ciolos, are the acknowledgement that technology and innovation have to be made available to small farmers, not just to agri-businesses, and the need to cushion farmers from the negative effects of global food price volatility.

Ciolos’ relatively positive assessment of agriculture and food security in the Rio+20 final document is shared by Emile Frison, director general of Biodiversity International.

According to Frison, agriculture was one of the less controversial points in the negotiations but this should be taken as a good sign, meaning that countries have come to accept the urgency of addressing food security as a global problem.

“Malnutrition has finally been recognised as a major concern for the future,” Frison told TerraViva. “And it has been acknowledged that if we want to address the issue of malnutrition, we cannot solve it only by offering pills and supplements, but a more sustainable solution has to be found and this has to come through a more diverse agriculture that provides a more diverse diet and a better health.”

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