Agriculture and Rural Development Day at the COP16 Climate Talks in Cancun

On Saturday, 4 December, five hundred people from across the world, including policy makers, farmers, scientists and representatives from the private sector and civil society, came together to identify and discuss the best practices and technologies in the agriculture sector that can help to meet emissions reduction goals through agriculture.

Agriculture and Rural Development Day took place parallel to COP16 climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico. Following on from the success of Agriculture Day 2009, which helped increase recognition of agriculture’s role in a global climate agenda, this year’s event focused on identifying the sustainable agriculture solutions to meeting food security and climate change challenges.

Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, Chief Executive Officer of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) said, “Sub-Saharan Africa is among the regions that will be hardest hit by climate change. Unless action is taken now to help farmers respond, the impacts of climate change could derail the region’s revitalised efforts to transform the agricultural sector and could deflate the optimism this has created in achieving a uniquely African ‘Green and Rainbow’ Revolution.”

Howard Minigh, President and CEO of CropLife International, said, “If left unaddressed, climate change will seriously impact farmers’ ability to grow sufficient crops, potentially leading to a world where food security is a luxury enjoyed by a minority.  The good news is that science is already helping farmers to do more with less, and we can intensify that effort to help reduce agriculture’s carbon emissions.”

At an “Ideas Marketplace”, experts were invited to share their experiences in technology and policy that are helping farmers to significantly contribute to climate change mitigation, whilst providing a sustainable supply of food.

Five roundtable discussions followed, offering perspectives on both the technologies that can help farmers meet stated emissions reduction goals and also the incentives and mechanisms that can enable and encourage farmers to take part.

Morgane Danielou, Director at the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA), said, “Solutions to climate change and food security need to be tailored to local conditions and local needs. Public-private partnerships between research organizations, governments and industry are important collaborations to help adapt agricultural technologies to the unique climate situations faced around the world.”

Minigh continued, “The good news is that science is already helping farmers to do more with less, and we can intensify that effort to help reduce agriculture’s carbon emissions.”

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