We discussed last week that rising food prices will have a direct impact on American consumers and developing countries around the world; now it seems that farmers and those who work in agriculture are weighing in on the topic. An international group of farm unions which is comprised of farm groups from Europe, Asia and North America, issued a statement on Monday to the G20 stating that the trade rules will threaten food security. The group defended the use of trade tariffs and production quotas by countries to secure food supplies and stabilize prices.
Agriculture will be a trending topic at the G20 conference in Paris starting on Wednesday. Though the G20 is supposedly not going to support the farm unions call, it does raise the question: What about the farmers?
Since 2008, after the dramatic spike in world food prices, agriculture and food security have been issues of concern for countries across continents. The latest data states that by 2050 we will have a global population of 9 billion people.
Wheat farmer Robert Carlson, head of the North Dakota Farmers Union, said, What we have become interested in, in the United States, is this question of are we really in a new era now when, instead of dealing all the time with how to get rid of the surpluses, the challenge is going to be grow enough food for the world?
To discuss how agriculture roles are changing, FAO has created a policymakers guide to the sustainable intensification of smallholder crop production titled, Save and grow. This guide discusses the challenge of feeding a growing world population, farming systems, soil health, crops and varieties, water management, plant protection and policies and institutions.
The challenges that farmers will face in the next few years are evident. Small-scale farming has been effective in Heifers work to bring communities out of hunger. We teach our project partners environmentally sound farming methods through agroecology. We define agroecology as, the sustainable use and management of natural resources, accomplished by using social, cultural, economic, political and ecological methods that work together to achieve sustainable agriculture production.
Though we wont know the results from the G20 meeting for the next couple of days, its a good sign when everyone can identify the same problem and begins to work towards a solution.