Market concentration is growing in the global food system, with a small number of multinational corporations contributing to the degradation of ecosystems, biodiversity losses and the acceleration of climate change. Meanwhile, small-scale food producers are among those who suffer the most from hunger and malnutrition, and at the same time are hit hardest by the effects of climate change.
Agro-ecology as an alternative
To meet the food and nutritional needs of a growing population within our planetary boundaries and achieve the SDGs, we need a fundamental shift in food production towards a highly adaptive, low carbon, resource-preserving type of agriculture and in-country value addition that benefits also the poorest farmers across the globe.
Agro-ecology is the science of applying ecological concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable agriculture. It is a holistic approach to integrated agriculture, based on ecological principles, as well as food and nutrition security, food sovereignty and food justice.
To get there, CONCORD Europe highlights the enormous potential of agro-ecology to respond to climate change, malnutrition and rural poverty. Recent research shows that agro-ecological agriculture increases land productivity and climate resilience, improves nutrition security, mitigates climate change, empowers small-scale producers and reduces rural poverty.
CONCORD Europe thus calls on the EU and its Member States to:
- Significantly increase funding for agro-ecological practices;
- Support efforts by civil society to conduct a meaningful and effective policy convergence process on agro-ecology in the Committee on World Food Security;
- Promote a participatory and inclusive research agenda on agro-ecology and climate resilience that strengthens farmer- and citizen-led innovation, puts special emphasis on women and young farmers and local knowledge systems, and permits democratic control of the research cycle.
- Support the Nationally Determined Contributions of developing countries under the Paris Agreement (UNFCCC).
- Replace the current CAP system of (unconditional) direct payments by payments contingent on the fulfillment of specific sustainability criteria.
- Phase out input subsidy schemes for agro-chemicals (such as fertilizers and pesticides) in favor of subsidies to promote ecological agriculture.
- Develop public incentives to promote agro-ecological practices.
- Improve access to finance for agro-ecological production, processing and marketing.
- Build and strengthen decentralized extension and education services for agroecological technologies.
- Promote certification and other tools to improve awareness and marketing of agro-ecological products.
- Regulate food and agricultural markets and curb the concentrated market power of multinational food and agribusiness corporations.