Deputy news editor, SciDev.Net
‘Scaling Up: Global Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture’ was presented by the UN Global Compact at the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum this week (15-18 June).
“Sustainable agriculture will require significantly increased investments in research and application of available technology to improve yields and reduce losses, including bringing this technology to scale for poorer regions of the world,” says an analysis paper prepared for the forum.
Fiscal constraint means the private sector will have to be “significantly involved” and innovative public-private partnerships will be needed, as well as incentives for private sector involvement, it says.
But so far large-scale commercial farms have benefitted from technology, leaving smallholder farmers behind, the new report says.
Success stories, highlighted in the report, include the RIICE project, which aims to forecast rice production and provide crop insurance for small-scale famers using satellite technology. It targets 5 million smallholder rice farmers in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam and is spearheaded by Allianz Reinsurance and sarmap, a Swiss-based remote sensing company.
Another example is Enel, an Italian energy company, which partnered up with the World Food Program (WFP) to reduce their carbon footprint by supporting high-efficiency cooking stoves and solar panels for WFP’s work including on sites in Ghana and Panama.
There are “islands of success” but the challenge is now to “scale up our best efforts” said Jordan Dey, principal of HKS Global who chaired the session.
This blog post is part of our coverage of Rio+20: United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. To read news and analysis on Science at Rio+20 please visit our website.