To feed the world while preserving the planet from global warming, the UN is promoting agroecology, a historic turning point after several decades of "green revolution" based on intensive agriculture, now in the dock.
"We need to promote sustainable food systems (…) and preserve the environment: agroecology can help achieve this," said the director-general of the UN agency on Tuesday. Agriculture and Food (FAO) José Graziano da Silva, opening of the Second International Symposium on Agroecology in Rome
Since the end of the Second World War, the development of agriculture based on the Massive use of fertilizers and chemical resources (pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc.) to increase yields to achieve food security for the planet has had a high price for the environment, he said.
"Soils, forests, water, air quality and biodiversity continue to deteriorate as this increase in production at all costs has not eradicated hunger in the world", he admitted.
The former French Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Le Foll, guest of honor at the opening session of the symposium for his active support to agroecology since 2012, for his part called to a "doubly green revolution based on nature". "FAO was the site of the first green revolution, it must be the place of a doubly green revolution," he said.
Based on the knowledge of each farmer on his plots, allied with the latest developments scientists, by using better soil treatments to be more fertile and store more carbon, as well as a biodiversity of plant species, agroecology turns its back on synthetic fertilizers. It also tries to reduce the dependence on excessive mechanization which increases the financial burden on farmers.
"We must move away from the monoculture system as it dominated the previous century," said the President of Fida ( International Fund for Agricultural Development) Gilbert Houngbo, another UN agency responsible for supporting agriculture in developing countries
The symposium, which brings together several hundred delegates from around the world, ends Thursday with a "final declaration" to be considered by the UN Committee on Agriculture in September, Graziano da Silva said.
About 30 countries to date, most of them Latin America, South Korea, China, Côte d'Ivoire, as well as Austria, Germany, Denmark, France, Switzerland and Italy, have adopted a legislative or regulatory framework to facilitate of the Agroecology development, he said.
– The example of Andhra Pradesh in India –
According to him, "much remains to be done" to convince a majority of conventional farmers that the system is viable and profitable. "Something is happening, we must continue the battle," for his part held Mr. Le Foll.
came from India, Vijay Kumar, advisor for agricultural issues of the Government of the State d Andhra Pradesh, in south-east India, illustrates both the enthusiasm and the scale of the revolution to be achieved.
"We have decided that 80% of the 6 million farmers in State should move to agroecology by 2024 ", told AFP Mr. Kumar.
" The green revolution was based on false principles, with continued dependence on inputs, and our peasants earn nothing, (…) and worse, we had waves of peasant suicide in India, "he adds.
" We want food production to increase among happy peasants, "he says. saying himself delighted to see more and more young graduates coming back to earth, "with good ideas."
But the road remains long: in 2017 , Andhra Pradesh had about 40,000 farmers working according to the principles of agroecology, 163,000 in 2018, a figure that should increase to 300,000 in 2019. Still far from the goal.