Agriculture Sector Needs Knowledge Exchange: FAOBy Sofía Hanna | Wed, 07/28/2021 - 15:58
The agricultural sector needs science and new knowledge to generate greater productivity and sustainability, said Víctor Villalobos Arámbula, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, during Pre-Summit of Agrifood Systems 2021 of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
This forum was convened to sensitize global public opinion and engage in global commitments and actions that transform food systems not only to eradicate hunger but also to reduce the incidence of food-related diseases. "Climate change is creating more difficulties in food production due to extreme weather conditions such as droughts, floods and major fires around the world," wrote FAO. Part of the problem comes from the food people consume and the way it is made.
According to FAO, 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from the supply chain that carries food from the farm and 35 percent of all food produced is wasted. Food production also leads to up to 80 percent of biodiversity loss and 80 percent of deforestation Moreover, it uses 70 percent of all freshwater.
Villalobos mentioned that tools and knowledge need to be readily available to farmers to overcome problems and produce food more efficiently. But for this to be possible, the sector needs support from organizations such as FAO since knowledge transfer is more difficult at the moment, as mentioned in the Mexican government in a press release.
Science and knowledge in agricultural fields could help reduce food uncertainty during the pandemic. Associations such as the International Corn and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) have begun to develop actions to promote collaborative sciences that help reduce the damage caused by the pandemic and support the recovery of the sector. Some of the actions that have already shown positive results include the generation and promotion of innovative networks, which have made it possible to reduce post-harvest losses to less than 1 percent. In tropical areas, harvest losses can represent up to 40 percent. Another action was the introduction of machines that enabled crucial agricultural jobs to be carried out while maintaining social distancing practices.