IFOAM launches Food Security Campaign

10/11/2010
Organic Agriculture - The Affordable Pathway to Tackling Hunger

IFOAM agrees with both the IAASTD [1] report and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food that the international community should be urged to re-think agricultural policies and build on the potential of agro-ecology in order to increase food production and save the climate [2]

Industrial agriculture is a root cause of lack of food availability due to its reliance on foreign aid, external agricultural inputs and food imports that require a cash economy. Industrial agriculture is not about feeding the world but maximizing profits by producing commodities for whichever global market pays the most.  This is the reason why one billion people in the developing world are chronically hungry and why over a billion people in developed countries are obese and suffering diet related diseases. Both are preventable. This is why IFOAM's 'People before Commodities' campaign has been launched at the United Nations World Food Security meeting in Rome to help put the needs of people back at the centre of our food and farming systems and policies.

Policies that aim to combat hunger through increasing commodities production continue to fail and exacerbate the problem. Industrial agriculture requires big areas of land and capital and carbon intensive inputs and equipment. It drives biodiversity loss - devastating both natural and agricultural biodiversity. It accounts for approximately 32% of all greenhouse gas emissions and as the number one cause of deforestation continues to dismantle the earths natural ability to cool the planet and regulate climate. It drives people from their lands converting them from proud producers to extremely poor and vulnerable consumers and drives others to suicide as a result of indebtedness to global input suppliers.

Rather than decreasing the number of small holders by pushing them from their land and exposing them to debt, smallholder farming must be protected, strengthened and increased so that communities can nourish themselves now and into the future. Organic Agriculture is the leading agro-ecological system and the most efficient and affordable solution for strengthening farming and access to food. It builds the social capital of rural areas, utilizes traditional knowledge and promotes farmer-to farmer exchange. It puts the farmer at the center of the farming strategy restoring a decision-making role to local communities, guaranteeing their right to control their own resources and engaging their active participation in a value-added food web. It builds the resilience and performance of the actual farm and provides a healthier working environment for farmers and communities. It diversifies production that decreases the impacts of crop failures, increases market opportunities and improves nutrition. It also increases yields, especially where food is most needed; in fact, in 2007, the CFS emphasized the importance of including organic agriculture as an element in National Programmes on Food Security (CL 132/10, para.30).

IFOAM representatives at the Committee on World Food Security meeting:

  • André Leu - IFOAM Vice-President - Tel +61 428 459 870
  • Cristina Grandi - IFOAM Rome Office Manager - Tel +39 3408337181

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[1] The 2008 International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report signed by 59 countries, including many African and Developing Countries strongly recommended adopting agro-ecological and organic principles. For more information see: www.agassessment.org

[2] Oliver De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, in June 2010 called for governments and international agencies  to urgently boost ecological farming techniques to increase food production and save the climate at an agro-ecology meeting he convened inBrussels. For more information see the Press Release on agroecology