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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Making agriculture work for biodiversity

By incorporating biodiversity as a priority in agriculture chain could yield multiple benefits, says experts at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), reports NaijaAgroNet.

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva made this call for transformative changes on how to produce food, grounded in sustainable agricultural systems capable of producing healthy and nutritious food while simultaneously safeguarding the planet's biodiversity.

"Biodiversity is essential for safeguarding global food security and nutrition, improving rural livelihoods, and enhancing the resilience of people and communities," he said in keynote remarks made at the start of a three day international dialogue (on mainstreaming biodiversity into agricultural policies and practices.

Healthy ecosystems provide a number of key services upon which humankind relies, such as water quality maintenance, nutrient cycling, soil formation and erosion control, and carbon sequestration. And healthy agricultural ecosystems provide the ecological foundations for food production, and the biodiversity of crops and livestock plays a critical role in humankind.

But today planetary biodiversity — genetic diversity at the level of organisms; diversity at the species level; and diversity ecosystem level — faces a number of threats, the FAO Director-General noted.

"The way we are producing our food is a big part of the problem", he said.

"Today, the world still produces food mainly based on the principles of the Green Revolution that started more than 50 years ago, and implies the use of high chemical inputs at a high cost for the environment," according to Graziano da Silva.

Yet he also noted that massive swaths of the Earth's surface are being used to grow food, raise animals, capture and farm fish, or produce forest products. This means that if managed sustainably — with biodiversity as a priority — the agricultural sector can make significant contributions to protecting biodiversity.


This renders promoting and facilitating the mainstreaming of biodiversity across all agricultural sectors "fundamental," FAO's Director-General argued.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

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