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UN Secretary-General Releases Report on Agricultural Technology for Development

15 August 2011: In preparation for the 66th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the UN Secretary-General has released a report on Agricultural Technology for Development, which underscores the importance of adapting agricultural technologies for smallholders, especially women, in the context of higher food prices and climate change.

The report calls for combining local knowledge of agricultural systems and the latest sustainability science to adapt practices to local ecosystems and increase resilience to climate and price changes, as well as other shocks. It highlights the need for substantial investment and radical changes in national agricultural plans to unleash smallholder production potential. It also stresses the need for a holistic approach that raises the productivity and resilience of agricultural systems, and that addresses efficiency and equity issues in agricultural supply chains.

The report addresses the role of women, as well as the supporting role of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the UN system in supporting agriculture research and development. It discusses technology transfer and extension, integration of local knowledge and market and financing services for agricultural adaptation. Finally, the report recommends a way forward that includes: national efforts for reforming the agriculture sector; investments in reducing post-harvest waste, capacity and infrastructure; and the acknowledgment of the role of women in the agricultural work force. [Publication: Agricultural Technology for Development]