Empowering agriculture: Fostering resilience – Securing food and nutrition
Global Forum for Food and Agriculture 2014 (GFFA)
A few days before the start of the Davos Forum and in conjunction with the Berlin International Green Week, the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) was held between January 15 and 17. It is an international event that focuses on issues concerning the future of the world agro-food economy, and provides an opportunity for policy representatives, economists, development specialists and researchers to meet in the German capital and discuss international agricultural and food policies.
We are publishing below excerpts from the final report of the 2014 Forum under the heading “Empowering agriculture: Fostering resilience – Securing food and nutrition”. Participants had emphasized the climate of uncertainty in agricultural markets, especially because of the extreme volatility. To stop it, they advocate strengthening international cooperation as well as the implementation of an efficient and transparent warning system.
Yet, while this type of initiative appears crucial at a time when the risk of new food crises is increasingly high, the current systems to prevent and alleviate crises––as sophisticated as they might be––will continue to suffer from a lack of effectiveness, as long as market regulation mechanisms and agricultural price volatility controls are not implemented.
momagri Editorial Board
We know that we are facing immense challenges:
The progressive scarcity of natural resources, the negative impacts of climate change, extreme natural disasters, and the loss of genetic diversity and soil fertility prevent agricultural potential from being fully realised.
Economic and financial crises, and excessive volatility on agricultural markets, are causing uncertainty. This is endangering further agricultural investment which may in turn reduce the efficiency of the entire food system.
Moreover, the difficulties in coping with these challenges are exacerbated by a number of other factors, such as insufficient know-how or access to education and capital; poverty; unequal participation of women and men, and insufficient social security provision in the face of rapid population growth and demographic change.
Meeting these challenges requires deeper national and international cooperation and partnership: Government, civil society, the private sector and academia – all must share responsibility to achieve our goal of eradicating hunger and malnutrition.
We are convinced that we must enable agriculture to adapt to new conditions, deal with risks and recover quickly from crises. Particular attention needs to be given to family-owned farms and smallholders, because of their important role in feeding the global population.
We agree that our core task is to develop an efficient, adaptable and resilient agricultural sector which builds on three fundamental and equal pillars: diversity, sustainability and productivity. (…)
Setting a course that will allow us to achieve diversity, sustainability and productivity requires political commitment and decisiveness. We therefore advocate an integrated, cross-sectorial policy approach at all levels.
We will promote this approach in the international discussion processes and in our national policies. (…)
In addition to this, we underline our commitment to establishing healthy food systems that build on a strong agricultural sector and that ensure both access to food and the availability of food.
Early-warning systems, which help to ward off crises and facilitate earlier recognition of crises, are also improving the resilience of agriculture. We note that greater market transparency and open, rule-based and therefore fair trade are necessary to meet and combat economic and economy-related political crises and the risk of extreme price volatilities on global agricultural markets at an early stage. We therefore encourage the full implementation of the G20 Action Plan on Food Price Volatility and Agriculture, in particular the expansion and efficient use of international early warning and information systems such as the global Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) or the earth observation system Geo-Global Agricultural Monitoring Initiative (GEOGLAM).
We note that it is not only policy-makers who bear responsibility; broad-based social commitment is needed to draw closer to our goal. We therefore call upon international organisations, non-governmental organisations, civil society, private sector and academia to share this responsibility and join us in our efforts.
1 The complete report is available from: