Governments need to implement more ambitious policies to address the global challenges facing agriculture, notably a shift away from direct support to farmers towards greater assistance for innovation systems that will improve productivity and sustainability, according to a new OECD report.
Ministers of Agriculture from OECD countries and partner economies around the world met at OECD headquarters in Paris on 7-8 April 2016 to discuss better policies to achieve a productive, sustainable and resilient global food system.
11 March, Paris, France: This high-level launch event included a panel discussion that addressed the potential impacts of companies operating in agricultural supply chains on human, labour and tenure rights.
This report looks at farm management practices with green growth potential, from farmer-led innovations (such as those directly linked to soil and water, Integrated Pest Management, organic farming) to science-led technologies (such as biotechnology and precision agriculture). Global food demand can only be met in a sustainable way if new forms of agricultural production and innovative technologies can be unlocked to increase the productivity, stability, and resilience of production systems with goals beyond just raising yields, including saving water and energy, reducing risk, improving product quality, protecting the environment and climate change mitigation.
“If He holds back the waters, there is drought; if He lets them loose, they devastate the land”. To be fair, that was in the days before governments played “a key role in developing targeted policy responses to market failures that impede the mitigation and allocation of drought and flood risks”, as the OECD report on Mitigating Droughts and Floods in Agriculture puts it.
Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events, notably of droughts and floods to which the agriculture sector is particularly exposed. While agricultural productivity growth and policy development have allowed to better cope with these risks and reduce overall impacts on the sector and commodity markets, there is substantial room to improve policy responses and co-ordinate across policy domains, including with respect to water rights and allocation, weather and hydrological information, innovation and education, and insurance and compensation schemes. Indeed, drought and flood risks are likely to become a major policy concern as increasing population will increase the demand for food, feed, fibre, and energy, not to mention the competition for water resources, and urbanisation will increase the demand for flood protection and mitigation, raising the issue of the allocation of flood risks across sectors and areas.
Drought in California has been in the headlines frequently these last three years, with startling pictures of empty reservoirs, rivers and canals, wildfires, disappearing snowpack and dry earth. Yet these dramatic effects have not stopped the agricultural sector from growing.
The food and agricultural system in the Netherlands is innovative and export-oriented, with high value-added along the food chain and significant world export shares for many products. To maintain and build on this performance, government policy should increasingly focus on measures to boost innovation and improve sustainability performance, according to a new OECD report.
The FAO, OECD and UNCDF launched a joint multi-year initiative to assess Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) policies from a territorial perspective. This joint initiative will assess, scale up, and pilot innovative policy approaches and governance mechanisms to improve food security and nutrition in rural areas, in both emerging and developing countries.
Fisheries production in OECD countries has declined by more than 39% since 1988 as overfishing reduces the productive capacity of the resource, according to a new OECD report.