The new vision for sustainable development that will emerge this week from the Rio+20 Earth Summit must recognize the significance of agriculture in economic growth, food security, poverty reduction and long term environmental sustainability. On June 18 in Rio de Janeiro, at the fourth Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD), nearly one thousand people, half in person and half participating virtually, committed to work together toward a sustainable global food system. The event was convened by some of the world's leading agricultural organizations.
Throughout the world, agriculture, forestry and other activities that meet human needs for food, fiber and energy are fundamentally and increasingly interconnected. Experience has shown that we must invest in an integrated landscape approach that improves agricultural productivity and rural livelihoods, while also addressing threats to forests, water, and biodiversity. Isolated solutions will not be enough. Brazilian Minister of Environment, Izabella Vieira Teixeira, called on everyone in the ARDD network "to move beyond silos." Landscape approaches require that we work across sectors and across ministries of finance, forestry, agriculture, fisheries and energy to achieve broader partnerships, coordinated regulatory frameworks and appropriate economic incentives. Harmonized forest and agriculture policies and scaled up investment can boost food production, biodiversity and carbon stocks by minimizing the harmful effects of agriculture on the environment through more efficient management of water, soils and agricultural inputs. Involving smallholders, especially women farmers, in policymaking can improve the resilience of food production.
Watch: Sustainable Agriculture is Our Common Future