Mainstreaming Agrobiodiversity in Sustainable Food Systems

  • 26th September 2017
  • by secretary

26 September 2017. Rome Italy. The first comprehensive scientific analysis of how agrobiodiversity can make our vulnerable food system more resilient, sustainable and nutritious has been carried out by leading agrobiodiversity research centre Bioversity International.

The 200-page guide provides solid evidence that investments in agrobiodiversity also play a critical yet overlooked role in tackling wider global targets such as reducing poverty and malnutrition, reversing environmental degradation and combatting climate change. It demonstrates that agrobiodiversity can be a more mainstream approach to sustainable development.

“Agrobiodiversity – the edible plant and animal species that feed each and every one of us – holds the key to future food security. But we are failing to protect it, and tap into its potential to transform our food system for the better. Until now, no single study has provided the evidence to showcase the extraordinary impact that investing in agrobiodiversity can have on improving food systems and advancing sustainable development at the same time. This new guide provides evidence on the practices that work for those ready to take action, and should convince more businesses and policymakers that agrobiodiversity is a triple-win investment” Ann Tutwiler, Director General of Bioversity International.

Entitled Mainstreaming Agrobiodiversity in Sustainable Food Systems, the scientific review is rich with data, case studies and suggested indicators to track progress on four key issues:

  • HEALTHY DIETS: The nutritional value underutilized crops and animal species can offer global diets. For example,15g of powder made from local fish in Bangladesh can meet the full daily requirement of vitamin B12, and half the recommended daily requirement of zinc for children aged 6-23 months.
  • PRODUCTION: How agrobiodiversity significantly enhances sustainability on farms. For example, intercropping coffee trees with vegetables in hilly areas led to a 64% reduction in soil erosion, and no decrease in coffee yield. Cropping systems with high agricultural biodiversity from crop rotations, displayed increased soil carbon by 28%–112% and nitrogen by 18%–58% compared with those with low agricultural biodiversity.
  • SEED SYSTEMS: The impact seed systems rich with diversity can have on improving food security, reducing vulnerability to climate change and reducing poverty. For example, one local variety of durum wheat used by farmers in Ethiopia was found to perform 60% better than the best commercially available seed. Two local varieties of durum wheat have now been approved for commercial release following a review of their potential to grow in dry, marginal areas.
  • CONSERVATION: How conserving plant and animal resources contributes to greater food security and more resilient farming systems. For example, farmers in Peru are being contracted to grow a neglected race of quinoa to produce a new brand of quinoa milk, in order to reduce their reliance on the limited varieties being grown for the global market.

The complete book (10 MB)
The book summary (6 MB)

To download just the parts of the book you need to visit following webpage.

19-20 September 2017. Kigali. African Union Regional Workshop on the Implementation of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA).

The two-day conference  attracted officials from African Union countries and beyond, coming ahead of the member countries’ seventh session that will be held in Rwanda from October 30 to November 3.