Side Events for Monday 24 April
|Sustainable Agriculture: Yes, but can it save
panel discussion was sponsored by the Third World Network. Pictured
from left to right: Martin Khor, Director, Third World Network,
Mae-Wan Ho, Open University and Institute of Science in Society,
Chee Yoke Ling, Third World Network, CSD-8 Chair Juan Mayr, and
Miguel Altieri, Professor of Agroecology, University of California,
Chair Juan Mayr discussed the CSD, the multi-stakeholder dialogue
and how it can contribute to the discussion on sustainable agriculture.
Martin Khor, Director, Third World Network, gave an overview
of sustainable agriculture, discussing the role of technology, the
social and environmental framework and the economic framework. He
discussed the importance of phasing in sustainable agriculture as
the green revolution is phased out, and said very little research
has been done on non-chemical agriculture as a viable alternative.
Regarding the economic and social framework, he said, inter alia,
farmers need to own their farms. On the economic framework, he said
structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) have had devastating impacts
on small farmers. He said international institutions such as the World
Bank and the IMF, have not done their job. He noted a FAO study of
16 countries, which concludes that the WTO agriculture agreement may
increase food insecurity although it is too early to say if will lead
to disaster. The study uses SAPs as a proxy. But he states in the
FAO paper prepared for the CSD, SAPs are put in a positive light.
Ho, Open University and Institute of Science in Society, introduced
an open letter, signed by more than 310 World Scientists, to all
governments concerning GMOs. She said that the introduction of GMOs
to developing countries will exacerbate inequality and prevent the
essential shift to sustainable agriculture.
Rosset, Executive Director, Food First, said smaller farms are
more ecologically efficient, that the world is cursed by a global
policy environment that artificially favors larger farms, and that
the low crop prices due to trade liberalization are devastating
to small farms. He pointed to Cuba as a country that was forced
to use locally produced sustainable agriculture after trade with
the Soviet Union collapsed and is producing more food than ever.
He said this shows that we do not need the green revolution and
Altieri, University of California, Berkeley, looked at alternative
technologies for agriculture, using Latin America as an example.
He discussed biotechnology and its limitations, and said it does
not address access; poor farmers are not an attractive market; and
farmers are denied the possibility of seed saving. He discussed
technology challenges for sustainable agriculture in the future,
and highlighted success stories of agroecological approaches, which
utilize such strategies as rotation. He said small farmers are the
cornerstone to sustainable agriculture and are more productive than
Ho and Martin Khor, Third World Network, speak with Chair