On the invitation of Germany’s Federal Minister of Agriculture, Ilse Aigner, ministers of agriculture from 64 countries shared their knowledge and experience for the benefit of world food security at the 4th International Agriculture Ministers’ Summit in Berlin on the 21st January. The Summit, held on the fringe of the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA), focused on the agricultural use of scarce resources and sustainable growth.
As Federal Minister Aigner reported at the conclusion of the Summit, the participants have agreed on new strategies and closer co-operation in the struggle against hunger. In their final communiqué, the countries involved, including, alongside a large number of European countries, China, Brazil, Japan, Indonesia and 15 African countries, pledge greater protection of scarce resources and agriculture that is consistently oriented on the principles of sustainability.
“The International Agriculture Ministers’ Summit opens up new strategies for global food security. Our joint objective is that the international community should work together even more closely and that there should be better networking between politics, industry, science and society,” the Minister stressed. The world population was growing dramatically, and just under one billion people were faced with starvation. Winning the struggle against hunger would not be possible without sustainable and productive agricultural and food industries.
In their joint final communiqué, the ministers attending the Summit stressed that agriculture was a “key sector of the Green Economy” and was of crucial significance in combating hunger. Given progressive climate change and the growing number of hungry people, they underlined that agriculture had to face up to major challenges regarding issues of environmental and climate protection and productivity.
In their communiqué, the ministers emphasised that priority should be given to enabling small-scale farmers in particular to make investments and to giving them secure access to land and water in all states. Throughout the world, farmers needed legal certainty and reliability. It was also crucial to implement international guidelines establishing rules for the responsible management of soil. Further priorities referred to are the promotion and protection of women’s rights.
Towards the end of the Summit, Aigner stressed that throughout the world, countries would have to drastically reduce food losses and waste – whether they be developing countries, emerging economies or industrialised states. “Millions of people are starving because a large proportion of the harvest is lost on the way from the farm to the table, either through improper storage or a lack of infrastructure. At the same time, the industrialised states are wasting valuable resources because millions of tonnes of food are being thrown away,” Aigner stressed.
At the conclusion of the Summit, Minister Aigner symbolically handed over the final communiqué entitled “Food Security Through Sustainable Growth – Farming with Limited Resources” to her Brazilian counterpart Jorge Alberto Mendes Ribeiro. The results of the Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Summit are to be incorporated in ongoing international negotiations and, in particular, to be discussed at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012.