The global food system is at a crossroads - Making a difference where decisions are made

Laura Angelstorf, Biovision

Solutions for the future are currently being discussed at the World Economic Forum and at side events. Our CEO Frank Eyhorn, has therefore participated at a side event to draw decision-makers' attention to the need for more investment in agroecological food systems.

The economic pressure on farmers and food producers has steadily increased over the last decades and has led to an unsustainable food system that not only harms our environment but also public health and exacerbates inequality. Financial flows have excessively focused on economic drivers: making use of economies of scale, developing genetically modified plants that are “more” resistant, bringing new synthetic pesticides and fertilizers to the market for short-term results. All at the expense of biodiversity and functioning ecosystems as well as farmers livelihoods.

But today we see a momentum for change. People and subsequently some politicians are becoming aware of environmental degradation caused by the overuse of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. However, instead of looking for systemic solutions, people are still looking for a scapegoat. It’s the farmer’s fault, it’s the industries’ fault, it’s politics’ fault, it’s the consumer who does not accept higher prices for food… This is not the way real change is achieved!

Agroecology is the way to move forward and enhance systemic sustainability

The Biovision Foundation is promoting agroecology as a paradigm that can be the basis to achieve sustainable food systems because of its holistic approach. While conventional agriculture relies on economic measurements only, agroecology also contributes to social, health and environmental goals.

Fortunately, agroecology is gaining ground among international stakeholders. Thus, agroecology is being promoted as a means to sustainably transform food systems, for example in the HLPE report of last July, the IPPC report of last August,  the Multifunctional Agriculture report of the independent French research institute IDDRI, but even the IAASTD report that was published more than 10 years ago and co-chaired by the president of the Biovision Foundation Hans R. Herren.

Decision makers need to take their responsibility

On January 22 the Food Systems Dialogues take place, right next to the WEF Annual Meeting, where a group of high level decision makers from all sectors of the food system discusses the type and scale of investments needed for the transformation of food systems. Biovision’s CEO Frank Eyhorn is part of this discussion to promote Biovision’s vision. Biovision strongly supports the dialogues, which are initiated by David Nabarro, former special adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change. Particularly, we are appealing to the decision makers to increasingly invest in agroecological research. For the time being, most of the research funding is directed to unsustainable, conventional agricultural projects, shows a study conducted by Biovision in collaboration with IPES Food.

As more scientific evidence is crucial for convincing actors of the benefits of systemic nature-based solutions. High level researchers from all over the world are calling for more financing of systemic agroecological research: