Climate deal must get agriculture right: expert

11:25, December 16, 2009      

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Current climate change negotiations on agriculture are failing the majority of the world's farmers and threatening food security in many developing countries, experts warned on Tuesday.

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) said at a press conference that the negotiations are also closing the door to participation by farmers and other stakeholders.

The IATP President James Harkness said that the climate agreement needs to support a global shift of farming systems that provide for local communities as over 1 billion people are suffering from hunger around the world and food accessibility has become closely linked to local production.

Any global climate deal, he mentioned, must assist farmers around the world, particularly in developing countries, in adapting to extreme weather changes.

"If negotiators get it wrong on agriculture, they could undermine efforts to address both climate change and food security," he said.

Furthermore, he highlighted that the agriculture text is currently being debated, but indications were that it would be mentioned only in general terms.

He said that key issues include whether food security would be included in the text, the role of agriculture within an offset system and the parameters of an agriculture work plan for 2010.

There is a need in Copenhagen, he asserted, to focus on identifying ways to tap agriculture's mitigation potential while reinforcing the ability of the sector to adapt to new challenges posed by climate change.

Harkness said that agriculture not only emits greenhouse gas, it also has the capacity to contribute to the removal of the gas through soil sequestration.

Urs Niggli, director for the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, said that organic agriculture can be helpful in mitigating climate change, building resilient farming systems, reducing poverty and improving food security.

Organic agriculture, he mentioned, emits much lower levels of greenhouse gas.

In addition, he said that it makes farms and people more resilient to climate change, mainly due to its water efficiency, resilience to extreme weather events and lower risks of complete crop failure.

Source: Xinhua
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