Bringing back agrobiodiversity
The report calls for urgent collective actions and long-term commitments both to enhance the multiple contributions that agrobiodiversity makes to sustainable development and to tackle the threats currently driving its loss. In particular, the publication stresses the need for approaches in which genetic resources, species and ecosystems are managed in an integrated manner, in the context of production systems and their surroundings.
At the same time, research on food and agricultural systems has to become more multidisciplinary and participatory. The existing knowledge gaps need to be filled through a better cross-sectoral and international cooperation, coupled with the mobilisation of financial, human and technical resources. It is also necessary to raise awareness among the general public about the importance of agrobiodiversity in healthy diets, as an increasing demand for sustainably grown products would drive the supply.
To achieve these objectives, it is crucial to build knowledge on agrobiodiversity and make information about its use readily available across various sectors, including governments, breeders, the agri-food sector, farm households and rural communities.
The Bioversity International initiative 'Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition' is mentioned in the FAO report as a successful example of integrated interventions addressing capacity needs and linking production and consumption. The Initiative is building national capacity in Brazil, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey to generate nutrition data for underutilized species of plants. These data are made publicly available and are used by policy makers to develop strategies aimed at creating markets for biodiverse foods.
Another crucial step towards enabling policy frameworks is represented by the Agrobiodiversity Index, the first tool that gathers information on agricultural biodiversity in diets, production and genetic resources. The aim of the Index is to provide policy makers, companies and investors with an agreed standard to measure agrobiodiversity and design concrete strategies and policies to use it sustainably.
Using biodiversity for sustainable farming systems that produce diverse, nutritious foods is the main contribution to the conservation of these precious resources, as the more biodiversity is used, the more the seeds are shared and multiplied and thus conserved. In turn, conserving biodiversity resources will make them available for both future climate scenarios and today’s nutrient needs.
Read the report