IPES demands return to diversity in food systems

The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) has launched a report in which they demand the return to a sustainable and diverse food system.

Input-intenIPESsive crop monocultures and industrial-scale feedlots must be consigned to the past in order to put global food systems onto sustainable footing, according to the world’s foremost experts on food security, agro-ecosystems and nutrition. The solution is to diversify agriculture and reorient it around ecological practices, whether the starting point is highly-industrialized agriculture or subsistence farming in the world’s poorest countries, the experts argued.

Biovision founder and president, Dr Hans Herren, is a member of this panel. The report very much supports the approach Biovision Foundation has been pursuing for many years.

Today’s food and farming systems have succeeded in supplying large volumes of foods to global markets, but are generating negative outcomes on multiple fronts: widespread degradation of land, water and ecosystems; high GHG emissions; biodiversity losses; persistent hunger and micro-nutrient deficiencies alongside the rapid rise of obesity and diet-related diseases; and livelihood stresses for farmers around the world.

A shift towards diversified agro-ecological farming has huge potential to keep carbon in the ground, turning agriculture from one of the major contributors to climate change to one of the key solutions. It may therefore be the most significant contribution important actors can make to prevent climate change and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.

The report also highlights push-pull systems for weed and pest management in Kenya, a project supported by Biovision, as a good-practice approach to double maize yields and milk production, and to increase agro-biodiversity.

The benefits diversified farming brings to society are barely rewarded by current subsidies and support measures under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union. This report calls for a wholesale shift in these incentives in order to facilitate a transition in agriculture.