Thursday, 5 June 2008

Agricultural Researchers Call for a Revolution in Sustainable Agriculture

New sustainable agriculture technologies with renewed funding commitment is the call of the world's largest organization dedicated to international agricultural research in order to alleviate current and future food crises. Emile Frison, Director General of Bioversity International, explained on behalf of the 15 centers supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), that strategies for a revolution in sustainable agriculture were in place for fruition in the 1990s but were stalled due to the waning of financial support.

The challenges of the early 60s to increase food production was well supported which lead to all-time successes in international agriculture. This resulted to increased harvests and steadily declining food prices that might have lulled donors into complacency about agriculture, Frison commented. With this scenario, the Alliance of CGIAR Centers put together an action plan which was presented during the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) High-Level Conference. The document highlights short, medium, and long-term measures to resolve the current food crisis and reduce the risk of future crises. "We urgently need to accelerate the flow of new varieties tolerant to heat, drought, and other stresses that will become worse with climate change,” Frison said. “We must also spread more widely the new tools and methods from research on natural resource management."

The alliance will also continue to work in concert with other international institutions such as the FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme and World Bank, as well as with many regional, national and local partners.

Reference: Press release 03/06 Bioversity International
19 May, 2008 Emile Frison, Director General of Bioversity International, was recently interviewed by the French language service of Radio Canada. He explained some of the factors behind the recent rise in food prices and spoke of some approaches to tackle the problems, including more money for agricultural research for development and the need to use biodiversity to tackle malnutrition. Listen