What is agroecology – and how can it help us fight climate change? – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights into European Politics, Economy, Foreign Policy, Economy & Technology

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This article is brought to you thanks to The European Sting’s collaboration with the. made available World Economic Forum.

Author: Andrea Willige, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • Climate change can have serious effects on food security.
  • According to the World Food Program, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity.
  • According to a UN report, agroecology, with its chemical-free and traditionally managed principles, could make the world’s food systems more resilient.
  • However, critics say there are food production issues that the agroecological approach may not be able to solve.

Conflicts, the climate crisis and now COVID-19 are forcing people to starve. ÖNe in three people (nearly 2.37 billion) did not have enough food in 2020 – 320 million more than in 2019, according to the analysis of the data from the World Food Program by the World Bank.

and 272 million people are already or at risk of acute food insecurity due to the COVID-19 crisis in the countries where the World Food Program operates, which means that their lives or livelihoods are in immediate danger due to lack of food.

A more natural and traditional approach to agriculture could help mitigate the effects of climate change, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The FAO advocates its use agroecological methods to strengthen the resilience of food systems, in a report published last year, particularly in badly affected regions such as sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2007 a severe drought in Lesotho and South Africa led to a dramatic drop in crop yields. The main staple food in Lesotho, corn, doubled in price and became unaffordable for many. One fifth of the population urgently needed food aid.

This is just one example of the dramatic effects climate change has on food systems and livelihoods. Climate change has not only led to food shortages, that’s what a study says it “exacerbated both the drought and its impact on food security”.

What is agroecology?

Agroecology is a broad field and there are many definitions, but what it boils down to in the words of the Soil Association is “sustainable agriculture that works with nature “.

The theory is that through Create synergies and balancing environmental, social and economic considerations, agroecology can support food production, security and nutrition, and restore the natural ecosystem and biodiversity necessary for sustainable agriculture.

Through natural processes and the avoidance of chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers, Agroecology reduces the environmental impact of food production while the yields are stabilized. It can help solve problems caused by existing agricultural systems such as deforestation, water scarcity, soil degradation and rising greenhouse gas emissions. eat

What is the World Economic Forum doing to ensure global food security?

Two billion people worldwide are currently undernourished and it is estimated that by 2050 we will need 60% more food to feed the world’s population. But agriculture is ill-equipped to meet these needs: 700 million of its workers currently live in poverty and are already responsible for 70% of global water consumption and 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

New technologies could help make our food systems more sustainable and efficient, but unfortunately the agricultural sector has lagged behind other sectors in terms of technology adoption.

The forum started in 2018 Innovation with a purpose platform is a large-scale partnership that facilitates the introduction of new technology and other innovations to transform the way we produce, distribute and consume our food.

With research, increasing investment in new agricultural technologies, and the integration of local and regional initiatives to improve food security, the platform works with over 50 partner institutions and 1,000 executives around the world to leverage emerging technologies to make our food systems more sustainable. inclusive and efficient.

Learn more about innovation with the effect of a purpose and contact us to see how you can get involved.

This creates a beneficial cycle that leads to UN sustainability goals all about food security and climate change.

The circular strengthening of agroecology.
The circular strengthening of agroecology. Image: UN-FAO

A viable strategy for adapting to climate change

The FAO report concluded that there is solid evidence that agroecology increases climate resilience by building on ecological principles such as biodiversity and healthy soils, as well as social aspects such as knowledge sharing and producer empowerment.

In Senegal, what applies a regional leader in agroecology, FAO research finds that agro-ecological farms are more resilient than other farms, which is attributed to maintaining high diversity, self-organization and the preservation of traditional farming knowledge and traditions.

The FAO recommends that agroecology be recognized as a viable strategy for adapting to climate change and that barriers to the diffusion of agroecological practices be overcome through better education about their benefits.

Pesticides – a dividing point

But not everyone agrees. Some farmers believe they are using traditional practices, native materials, and non-chemical approaches may not always produce the best resultsand that pesticides are sometimes needed, not least when critical crop yields are threatened.

However, combating climate change is not a one-horse race. It will take many ways to contain it effectively. Many of the principles of agroecology seem to have a place in this puzzle of approaches. One of them is the World Economic Forum Food Innovation Hubsaiming to strengthen local innovation ecosystems to help sustainably transform the world food systems and increase their productivity and resilience.


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