G8 must follow through with food security pledge

Plant science industry calls for further focus on impact and implementation of L'Aquila Initiative

OTTAWA, June 25 /CNW/ - As leaders of the G8 nations meet, the plant science industry calls for clarification and a reiteration of the pledge to address food security made in L'Aquila last year.

In the year since the G8 committed to addressing food security and sustainable agricultural development through a US$22 billion(1) dedicated fund, little clarity has been given on how much new funding is actually being committed, and how the funds will be used to make a difference to the one billion hungry today, and the food and nutrition needs of the coming decades.

As the G8 meets for the 2010 summit, CropLife Canada calls on leaders to follow through with their commitment to food security by:

    
    -  Issuing a clear plan of action for implementing the L'Aquila Food
       Security Initiative.
    -  Doing this in a way that is globally coordinated, yet locally adapted.
    -  Ensuring that action addresses the multiple issues that underpin food
       security, including the need to foster innovation.
    

"The plant science industry is working to address this issue by providing farmers with tools to produce a safe, affordable and abundant food supply," said Lorne Hepworth, president, CropLife Canada. "In order to fully solve this global issue, it requires additional commitment and dedicated effort by governments around the world.

"We recognize the valuable contribution that science and technology can make to achieving food security. Indeed, we believe that food security is fully achievable. However, to be truly impactful, the contribution of science and technology needs to be complemented by addressing six key issue areas that underpin food security."

    
    -  Agricultural productivity
       -  Increase productivity on existing lands. Plant science can
          help: without crop protection products, global crop losses would
          rise to 40-80%. Beyond existing yield benefits, biotech crops have
          the potential to further raise globally yields by up to 25%.(2)

    -  Fostering innovation
       -  Increasing agricultural productivity sustainably requires continued
          innovation for new, improved technologies and knowledge.

    -  Sustainable resource management
       -  Biodiversity and natural resources are under unprecedented
          pressure. To help ensure that agriculture helps preserve natural
          resources, policies must inform and incentivize farmers to adopt
          more sustainable farming practices.

    -  Global and local trade
       -  Efficient food production requires open, fair and well-functioning
          global markets.

    -  Improved infrastructure
       -  Improved infrastructure is needed to improve crop production and
          quality, reduce post-harvest losses and secure farmers' access to
          inputs and markets.

    -  Rural poverty
       -  75 per cent of the poor in developing countries live in rural
          areas. With rising urbanization, there is a risk that policies will
          neglect the needs of rural and agricultural communities. This must
          be avoided.
    

While food security remains achievable, making it a reality requires genuine political will and investment in coordinated, targeted policies. The G8 has the opportunity to set an example through the L'Aquila Initiative and to make a difference today and in the coming decades. The plant science industry calls on the G8 to take this opportunity and to ensure that their commitment translates into real change.

Available resources:

"Food Security: Not (Just) a Developing Country Issue", article in G8 official publication 2010 by CropLife International, European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) and CropLife Canada

http://www.croplife.org/files/documentspublished/1/en-us/MISC/5574_MISC_2010_06_21_G8_Offical_Publication_Article_-_Food_Security_-__Not_(Just)_a_Development_Issue.pdf

    
    ---------------------------
    (1) Raised from the originally committed US$20 billion
    (2) Consultative Group on Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
    

SOURCE CropLife Canada

For further information: For further information: or to arrange an interview with Mr. Lorne Hepworth, please contact: Nadine Sisk, Executive director, communication and member services, P: 613-230-9881, ext. 3224, E: siskn@croplife.ca

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