In an international meeting on agroecology held on June 22 in Brussels, Olivier De Schutter stated that organic and sustainable farming is not only a solution to degraded soiled and polluted water, but can also end world hunger and global climate change. De Shutter is the UN’s Special Rappteur on the Right to Food, considered to be an internationally recognized human right. He is also an expert in agroecology.
“Governments and international agencies urgently need to boost ecological farming techniques to increase food production and save the climate,” De Schutter stated while presenting his findings. He decried the current large-scale production methods involving “improved seeds, chemical fertilizers and machines” that rapidly leads to soil and water degradation. “Scant attention has been paid to agroecological methods that have been shown to improve food production and farmers’ incomes, while at the same time protecting the soil, water, and climate.”
The largest and farthest-reaching agroecological study is soon to be released by Essex University in the U.K. The study covered 286 projects in 57 developing countries. Many agroecological success stories from Africa and elsewhere have surfaced. Theses sustainable farming projects have produced an overall 79 percent improvement in crop yield.
For example, parts of western Tanzania used to be known as the ‘Desert of Tanzania.’ Today, two decades of agroforestry techniques rehabilitated 350,000 hectares of land and improved household incomes by as much as $500 a year.
“With more than a billion hungry people on the planet, and the climate disruptions ahead of us, we must rapidly scale up these sustainable techniques,” De Schutter said. “Even if it makes the task more complex, we have to find a way of addressing global hunger, climate change, and the depletion of natural resources, all at the same time. Anything short of this would be an exercise in futility.”