During the World Economic Forum’s Davos 2023 conference, speakers highlighted the need to invest in small farmers, regenerative agriculture and information technology. The Conference brought together academics, governments, businesses, non-profit organizations, artists, advocacy organizations and other parties to discuss issues of daily concern, with food security and food systems on the menu.
“Farmers around the world (especially smallholder farmers) bear the brunt of climate impacts and food insecurity, but they cannot bear the burden of the transition alone,” said Tanya Strauss, head of the World Economic Forum’s Food Systems Initiative. stresses.
Alvaro Lario, president of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), shares Strauss’ concerns and stresses the importance of supporting agriculture. “Only long-term investments in the rural economy can provide long-term solutions to hunger, malnutrition and poverty,” Lario said in a statement before the conference. “This will enable small farmers to increase local production, better adapt to climate change, build shorter and more local food chains, build and support local markets and commercial opportunities, and create small rural businesses.”
Speakers also call for immediate investment in the rural food system. According to IFAD, small farmers feed two out of three people on the planet, but they face the brunt of the climate crisis and lack of financial support. Even after taking into account worsening inflation, local and regional conflicts and extreme weather events, the Global majority farmers produce 30 percent of food on 11 percent of total agricultural land, they say.
IFAD Goodwill Ambassador Idris Elba also rang the bell for investment in the village, saying:[Farmers] They are looking for investment, not just help and handouts.
Speakers also promoted regenerative agriculture practices as another means of improving global food security. A shift away from conventional agriculture has been a key component of negotiations to achieve food security moving forward. According to the Global Biodiversity Framework, Unilever’s Food Sustainability Director Dorothy Shaver and One Planet Business Director Stefania Avanzini transformation of agricultural subsidies to restorative farming practices.
“When properly implemented, regenerative agriculture practices can protect and enhance biodiversity on and around farms, improve or maintain soil carbon and water retention, and enhance crop and ecosystem resilience,” Shaver and Avanzini write in the memo. “Governments can support the transition to regenerative agriculture by reforming harmful agricultural subsidies and creating opportunities for a fair, nature-positive and net-zero economy.”
To support both smallholder farmers and the transition to regenerative agriculture, researchers have encouraged the integration of food and information systems. World Economic Forum agrotech researchers call for further attention clean, simplified data rallying to support farmers as climate volatility and market volatility loom in the near future.
Julie Sweet, Accenture’s chairman and CEO, points out the benefits of organizing data in different cultural and climate contexts: “A lot of times people wonder why you need to have really clean data that’s connected to external data, then use basic models for specific use cases. – there’s a lot going on in digital manufacturing, agriculture, and industrial use cases, and it reminds everyone to get the data right.
The World Economic Forum sees three key solutions for global food security: financial investment in regenerative agriculture, strong policies to ensure market growth, and national leadership in transforming their food systems. “We need to take complex and comprehensive solutions together, like climate change and food security,” says Strauss.
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Image courtesy of Vivek Kumar, Unsplash