05.06.2015 World Environment Day 2015 – It’s time to take action before it’s too late.
We are destroying the environment with chemical-based agriculture to yield and consume more than the planet can afford to sustainably provide. We need to shift away from highly input-intensive techniques towards resource-efficient, agro-ecological practices.
This year’s World Environment Day focuses on the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources. Evidence shows that we are consuming more natural resources than the planet can sustainably provide. A transition to agro-ecological practices would not only use fewer natural resources but also have multiple environmental benefits for soils, water and biodiversity.
“World agriculture needs to move away from using highly input-intensive techniques to agro-ecological methods including organic farming, which reduce non-renewable energy use by decreasing agrochemical needs,” says Gábor Figeczky, Advocacy Manager at IFOAM – Organics International. Agro-ecological practices nurture soil, fauna and flora, create more stable systems, lead to better nutrient retentive abilities, and greatly reduce the risk of groundwater pollution.
Being knowledge rather than input intensive, the greater uptake of agro-ecology requires affirmative action from governments. Training and education in already available agro-ecological farming techniques would enable farmers to produce without the burden of having to spend on environmentally and economically costly fertilizers and pesticides.
IFOAM – Organics Internationals therefore calls on governments to set up national programs and strategies, including those on education, training, extension services and research, that create a policy environment with the necessary incentives to empower farmers, particularly the most vulnerable smallholders to enhance the resilience of their farms using agro-ecological practices.
In addition, more research on organic and other less input-intensive techniques is needed to provide trainers and extension service providers with additional knowledge. To date, the majority of funds spent on agricultural research is invested in finding ways to ramp up the current chemical-based agriculture systems. This needs to stop. For the sake of our natural resources, it’s time to invest in resource-efficient solutions that work with the power of nature, not against it.
Gábor Figeczky, Advocacy Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org