G20 Leaders Discuss Sustainable Agriculture

June 28, 2012 Bookmark and Share

Heads of state convened last week in Los Cabos, Mexico, for the annual G20 Summit. Amongst the issues the summit considered was sustainable agricultural production. The G20 Agriculture Vice Ministers and Deputies estimated global population will rise to 9.3 billion by 2050.

To accommodate this rapid growth of population, the group predicted an overall increase in agricultural production of 50-70 percent, and up to 100 percent in developing countries, would be needed to meet demand.  The group’s final report addressed the needs and goals for continuing to develop sustainable agriculture.

The group highlighted the joint work done by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which identified public and private investment, and research and development as major factors affecting a successful outcome. The report from FAO/OECD stressed the need for investment and development directed particularly toward small-scale farms in undeveloped and underdeveloped regions of the world, in order to maximize the productive and efficient use of land.

The FAO/OECD report also highlighted a number of initiatives underway in support of developing sustainable agriculture, notably the International Research Initiative for Wheat Improvement (Wheat Initiative). The Wheat Initiative was created as a result of the 2011 G20 Summit, and is a science-driven project with the goal of bettering the coordination of international research on wheat genetics, genomics and agronomy related to both bread and durum wheat. (The Wheat Initiative Scientific Board will meet this week in Fargo, N.D.).

Looking ahead to next year and to implementing the principles outlined during the summit, the G20 leadership called on the FAO, OECD, and other relevant international organizations to create a non-binding sustainable agriculture framework for analysis, which could be voluntarily adopted by G20 member nations, by the end of 2012.