IFOAM appreciates IAASTD report on a new agriculture paradigm focusing on poor farmers as a step in the right direction

IFOAM expresses moderate satisfaction for IAASTD report and for its attempt to rethink the approach to agriculture, giving farmers a central role.

The International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology (IAASTD) held its intergovernmental plenary meeting from 7-14 April in Johannesburg, South Africa. A final report was approved by governments at that meeting. Ms. Prabha Mahale, member of the IFOAM World Board – i.e. the governing body of IFOAM – headed the IFOAM delegation at the meeting, demonstrating IFOAM’s highest and long-term involvement in promoting a new sustainable paradigm for agriculture.?

Conceived in 2002 by the World Bank and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the IAASTD began to work in 2004 with the objective of improving life, health and prosperity for millions of poor farmers. Over three years (2005-2007), a group of scientific experts selected by IAASTD evaluated the relevance, quality and effectiveness of agricultural knowledge, science and technology, as well as the policies and institutional solutions to these questions. The 400 experts reconvened last week in Johannesburg to agree on a final text to be approved by governmental delegates.

The IAASTD report underlines the necessity of a deep rethinking of the approach to agriculture. It admits the market’s lack of capacity to deliver prosperity and food security to the poor and it states the need to review some unfair trade rules. The report also emphasizes the need to reform some intellectual property laws on patents on novel crops, as to not let them jeopardize new research and agriculture innovation. The report is also critical towards the domination of multinational companies on seed and fertilizer markets. It calls for an implementation of agroecological strategies, in particular to realize environmental sustainability, and spotlights the doubts and controversies concerning genetically modified crops. The report is definitely asking for a new agriculture paradigm, focused on the role farmers and especially on poor farmers.????

The development of a healthy, ecological and fair agriculture, following the principles of Organic Agriculture (health, ecology, fairness and care), has always been IFOAM’s major commitment over its whole history. The presence of Ms. Mahale at the IAASTD plenary meeting reaffirmed such a commitment at the highest level. IFOAM is therefore supporting IAASTD in its effort to encourage a fundamental rethinking of agricultural policies. IFOAM considers the IAASTD´s report an acceptable compromise and calls for a preservation of its very content during the IAASTD plenary meeting.

IFOAM Press Release, Responsible: Angela B. Caudle de Freitas

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