By Evelyn Drawec
Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food and the author of the foreword for State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, is calling for some new thinking—and action—regarding world hunger. In his new report, Agroecology and the Right to Food, De Schutter argues that agroecology is the best strategy for tackling hunger.
De Schutter argues that agroecology is the best strategy for tackling hunger. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)
The twenty-one page report details agroecology’s ability to provide food for the world’s hungry, outlining policy recommendations that nations can implement in order to help shift their agriculture systems to more sustainable methods. According to De Schutter, agroecological methods will be increasingly important as climate change takes a bigger hold on sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the developing world. “Agroecology also contributes to mitigating climate change, both by increasing carbon sinks in soil organic matter and above-ground biomass, and by avoiding carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gas emissions from farms by reducing direct and indirect energy use,” says De Schutter.
De Schutter also calls for incorporating individual small-scale farmers into the policy process as a way to disseminate their knowledge and help lift them out of poverty. As illustrated by De Schutter, “We won’t solve hunger and stop climate change with industrial farming on large plantations. The solution lies in supporting small-scale farmers’ knowledge and experimentation, and in raising incomes of smallholders so as to contribute to rural development.”