From Data to Diets, the Future of Farming is Diversification
Diversity is just as important in food production as it is for healthy, nutritional diets, farmers from around the world told this year’s Committee on World Food Security meeting.
From dairy to aquaculture, farmers from across the sector said access to the full range of tools, technologies and systems could help meet the challenge of feeding a rising population in ever-changing conditions.
A panel of farmers and experts spoke at a side event co-hosted by Farming First on innovation and agroecology against the backdrop of rising hunger for the third consecutive year.
“Innovation is one of the main drivers for farmers to become more sustainable,” said Juan Minvielle, an Argentinian farmer and president of Maizall. “It helps both larger farmers and smaller farmers.”
Mr. Minvielle told the side event how improved biotech varieties of soybean meant he had improved his yields while reducing the need for additional inputs like pesticides, which in turn meant he could practice no-till farming to keep soil disturbance to a minimum.
The success of no-till farming in Argentina and elsewhere had inspired Patience Koku, a Nigerian farmer and member of the Global Farmer Network, who said the practice was helping Nigerians cope with changing weather patterns and allowing soil to retain moisture.
“We have to do everything we can to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” Patience said.
“There is huge urgency needed to allow people to have access to the right tools. Access is really one of the challenges we have. What we’ve been able to do is to realise we can easily transfer this technology.”
Matteo Leonardi, an Italian trout farmer, said that aquaculture was in itself a form of diversification within agriculture. “It’s important to understand that no one technology is better than another,” he said.
As well as new technologies, the panel highlighted the importance of data to help farmers take informed decisions for maximum results.