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The FFC Bulletin 2016 V3 – iPES FOOD – calling for a paradigm shift in agriculture

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By Charles Merfield

‘From Uniformity to Diversity: A paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems’ from iPES FOOD  direct PDF download of executive summary and whole report

iPES FOOD is an international panel of experts on sustainable food systems and is co-chaired by Olivier De Schutter (former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food) and Olivia Yambi (nutritionist and former UNICEF representative to Kenya).

There is something of a plethora of high-level, international reports about the need for a new agrarian revolution, but this report from iPES FOOD goes one step further and make recommendations for how that change needs to come about.  I consider this to be a key attribute of this report, as, in many countries, farmers have got the message that change is essential, but, when they ask for help and in which direction they should change, there is in many instances, a deafening silence from scientific, academic and governmental organisations.

The report also looks beyond farmers fields and to the wider agribusiness and global political systems which farming is embedded to understand why it is so difficult to change agriculture.  This however means that the solutions it is putting forward are mostly at the global political level, so there is little practical how-to advice for farmers and growers themselves.  However, for those interested in the bigger picture of what is required to move the whole food system onto a sustainable footing, this is an excellent report.

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