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UNCTAD Recommends Paradigm Shift to Make Agriculture Climate-Friendly

3 December 2010: The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has published a policy brief focusing on the need for a shift of the agricultural production paradigm in order to make the agricultural sector part of the solution to climate change mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.

The policy brief, titled "Agriculture at the Crossroads: Guaranteeing Food Security in a Changing Global Climate," underscores that climate change has the potential to damage irreversibly the natural resource base upon which agriculture depends, leading to grave consequences for food security in developing countries. However, it notes that the agricultural sector can transcend from being a problem to becoming part of the solution to climate change, provided there is a more holistic vision of food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and pro-poor development contribution. It calls for a rapid and significant shift from conventional, industrial, monoculture-based and high-external-input dependent production towards mosaics of sustainable production systems that also considerably improve the productivity of small-scale farmers. The brief cautions that the required transformation is much more fundamental than simply tweaking the existing industrial agricultural systems. As part of such a change, the brief suggests that developing country governments should focus on creating an enabling environment and changing the incentive structure as part of targeted agricultural and fiscal policies that strengthen sustainable agricultural practices. [The Policy Brief]