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Agroecology can fix food system failures: IFAD

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In its first comprehensive assessment of agroecology, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) announced Wednesday that 60 percent of its projects use practices derived from this holistic approach to sustainable agricultural production.

The organization recommended it as an effective way to transform food systems to cope with increasing hunger, malnutrition, climate change and fragile ecosystems.

Agroecology combines the traditional knowledge of farmers with scientific innovations and integrates ecological, economic and social development.

It emphasizes the importance of smallholder producers in food systems and links them more directly to consumers to provide sustainably produced, safe, nutritious and affordable food for all.

“We live in a world of plenty, yet one in ten people are hungry and three billion people cannot afford a healthy diet,” said Thouraya Triki, director of the Sustainable Production, Markets and Institutions Division. IFAD, which oversaw the production of the report.

“Adopting agroecological practices is a major step in addressing these failures in our food systems. “

Reviewing a large sample of projects, The Stocktake Report on Agroecology in IFAD Operations: An Integrated Approach to Sustainable Food Systems [LJ1] assessed how projects support efficient use of resources; recycling of water, nutrients, biomass and energy; levels of diversification and use of agrobiodiversity; management of natural resources; and innovations to connect producers and consumers.

The report shows that agroecological farming practices are applicable and effective under various climatic and landscape conditions, and can be adapted to different types of soils and the availability of natural resources.

PR54 Agroecology

A growing demand for healthy and nutritious food, combined with a growing population and the increasing impacts of climate change are calling into question the way we produce and consume food.

The United Nations Food Systems Summit later this month will focus on concrete commitments and approaches to transform food systems so that farmers can be more resilient to climate change and produce nutritious and affordable food without compromising natural resources and ecosystems.

Agroecology has become more prominent on the global agenda in recent years as an innovative way to effectively achieve this result.

Agroecology emphasizes the empowerment of farmers, the importance of their own knowledge, innovations and adaptations, and the intrinsic connection of their cultural values ​​to the food they produce.

The report concludes that projects using agroecological approaches more frequently benefit indigenous peoples than other types of projects.

It also highlights the positive impact that agroecology can have on gender and youth empowerment.

In Sudan, for example, an IFAD-supported project trained youth exposed to unemployment and migration to provide agroecological advisory services to their communities, which enabled a transition to sustainable forests and rangelands and better water management.

IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and build resilience.