The rapid revision of international agrarian policy is imperative. This is the consensus of the participants in the conference entitled “How can organic + fair trade guarantee global food security?” which took place on 22nd April in Munich. “Each year an area roughly equivalent to that of Germany’s farm land is lost to soil and water erosion, which means it is no longer available for the production of foodstuffs”, explains Dr. Ulrich Hoffmann of UNCTAD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. This is why Weltladen-Dachverband and Naturland are demanding a plan of action on global food security which should have top priority in all government decisions. “
Everyone knows what needs to be done, but we are running out of time. Now is the time to throw the switch and harness all the means in our power to establish a sustainable, organically orientated agricultural system managed to social and fair criteria”, Hans Hohenester, organic farmer and the chairman of Naturland’s steering committee, demands at the conclusion of the conference.
On the occasion of the conference, Naturland and Weltladen-Dachverband demanded an action plan on food security and food sovereignty be implemented which should have top priority at all political levels. These two associations foresee such an action plan making the following six key demands: aid to smallholders and their organisations and encouragement of rural development, for example by allocating them financial support for knowledge transfer and further education encouragement of fair trade as a practical tool for reducing poverty and as a method of supporting smallholder structures signature of the international agricultural assessment report (IAASTD) and active support of its continuation immediate and final abolition of all agrarian export subsidies and the termination of measures which encourage overproduction allocation of funds for research into organic agriculture, instead of into agricultural ge-netic engineering, especially in developing countries establishment of social and organic criteria for the use of agrofuel and other renewable resources. No untested mandatory blending. The total area used for the produc-tion of fodder, agrofuel and renewable resources in Third World countries should not be allowed at the expense of food production.
According to an estimate by the FAO, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the world is today capable of feed over 10 billion people. “What we are talking about here is poor quality and not insufficient quantities,” is the conclusion reached by Hans Herren (picture), vice president of the IAASTD, on the current situation. Besides misgovernment in certain countries, it is soil depletion, erosion and salinisation by mismanagement which have lead to agricultural areas formerly used for food production being abandoned. In combination with the current rate of world population growth of 85 million per year, this is leading to a steady increase in the numbers of the hungry. Particularly in developing countries, it is knowledge transfer and awareness-raising which are key to development prospects for sustainable agriculture, be-sides such other factors as infrastructure, political environment and gender issues. “We need the right political and economic environment, and strategic policies which allow measures to be taken. A plan of action on global food security has to be included on the political agenda in order to avoid further escalation of problems with food security,” demands Birgit Schoesswender of Weltladen-Dachverband.
All the speakers at the conference agreed that organically orientated agriculture holds the greatest potential for the maintenance of soil fertility. It is an important component in combat-ing the loss of valuable arable land and is the basis for the protection of the climate, water and species. By going through fair trade channels, smallholders can sell their produce under fair conditions, thus ensuring their own livelihood. “Eighty per cent of the world’s farmers have just two hectares of land! The human right to food must be included in global trading policy”, demands Carolin Callenius (picture) of Brot für die Welt.