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Cia with FAO for “Social Business for Zero Hunger”: more agriculture against world hunger

The initiative in Rome at the Sheik Zayed Conference Center with Da Silva, Yunus, Martina, Sereni. President Scanavino: “At a time when the fight against hunger passes through the knots of food security, food waste and the environmental sustainability of production processes, the challenge to be won in the coming years will be to work for a world with more farmers. An agriculture that is both protagonist and janitor, capable of producing more food but better, protecting soils with efficient resource management.”

Ensuring that all the world’s population has the food they need is the real new challenge of the century. A challenge that requires integrated and coordinated national and international agribusiness and trade policies, as well as common solutions to combat food waste and improve the sustainability of agricultural production. This was said by the national president of Cia-Agricoltori Italiani, Dino Scanavino, in his speech at “Social Business for 0 Hunger,” the initiative organized today by the FAO in Rome and of which the Confederation is a partner.

A “two-day” of work, which was inaugurated with speeches by FAO Director General José Graziano Da Silva, Agricultural Policies Minister Maurizio Martina, Chamber of Deputies Vice-President Marina Sereni and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus (known as “the banker of the poor,” founder of the Grameen Bank and creator of modern microcredit), to discuss global food security and social business: “An important frontier, a system of new entrepreneurial experiences,” Scanavino explained, “that put the welfare of the community back at the center and, within which, actors in the agrifood supply chain can exercise a strategic role in the fight against hunger on the planet.

A role that farmers want to take on “as protagonists,” said the Cia president, thus “aware of their responsibility in soil protection and efficient management of natural resources,” but also “aware that it is no longer conceivable today to make policy decisions affecting food sovereignty without involving farmers themselves.”

The FAO initiative, Scanavino recalled in his speech, “can be traced to a context, until a few years ago, unprecedented. The world economy has grown at a rapid pace and with an intensity that has made the problem of the loss of balance between development and available resources increasingly evident and worrisome. Some of these changes are taking on a structural dimension: first and foremost, the growth in food demand, which exceeds supply, linked to demographic increases and the process of economic growth that is affecting large portions of the world’s population.”

Conversely, “access to food is increasingly threatened by food waste. According to an FAO study, one-third of the food produced globally-about 1.3 billion tons a year for a value of nearly a trillion dollars-is lost or wasted. Disturbing numbers that cannot be ignored,” continued the Cia president, “especially since they could instead be used prospectively to meet the needs of the 805 million people in the world who are chronically undernourished or malnourished.

Another theme is related to the environmental crisis: “In recent decades, pressure on natural resources has caused emergencies that affect the entire planet. Among these, water scarcity is the one that is likely to have the most dramatic repercussions in terms of the future sustainability of the food supply.” Not to mention the effects of climate change that “reduce crops, cause droughts, floods and extreme weather events.”

Major issues, then, with respect to which “the role of the agrifood sector, which is also at the center of major changes, has become increasingly important,” the Cia president reiterated. The agriculture of the future, in fact, will have to know how to adapt to these changes, first and foremost to continue to ensure healthy and lasting food for the world’s population.”

And the production function will have to “pair” with environmental sustainability. “Among economic activities, agriculture plays a leading role in countering the process of erosion of natural resources. The reference is above all to that distinctive and quality agriculture that, in its various forms, can represent a solution in terms of reducing environmental impact and rural and landscape preservation-Scanavino again said. Without neglecting the vital function that primary activity plays in terms of maintaining and developing biodiversity. The growing risk of extinction that is affecting many important agro-forestry varieties is now acclaimed: more than a fifth of the total number of species in our country are at risk of extinction. Sixty percent of species and 77 percent of habitats in Europe are in an ‘unfavorable’ conservation status. And the phenomenon takes on a worrying dimension in the least developed areas of the planet, where the maintenance of agricultural biodiversity, understood as the production and conservation of traditional seeds, is a vital element in the fight against poverty and hunger.”

It is clear, therefore, concluded the Cia president, that “at a time when the fight against hunger passes through the knots of food security, food waste and the environmental sustainability of production processes, the challenge to be won in the coming years will be to work for a world with more farmers. A leading agriculture, capable of producing more and better food, polluting less. An agriculture that, from an agronomic point of view, will have to know how to innovate in order to defend soil fertility and to ensure global food security,” but for this it requires “the recognition of its function as a ‘custodian’ that maintains, safeguards and enhances the territory.” That is, “the ‘crust’ of the earth that gives food and life.”


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