The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) 2014 is an international conference that focuses on the future of the agricultural and food industry, held every year as part of Berlin's International Green Week.
The forum gives agriculture ministers, policymakers, the private sector and civil society the opportunity to discuss agricultural policy in the context of the challenges of food security.
This year’s meeting, Empowering Agriculture: Fostering Resilience – Securing Food and Nutrition, focused on how agriculture and rural areas can cope more effectively with economic, environmental and social crises, while at the same time ensuring food security.
Bioversity’s Director General M. Ann Tutwiler and Deputy Director General Research, Stephan Weise, were both invited to intervene at the GFFA’s expert panel discussions and working meetings, emphasizing the role of agricultural and forest biodiversity in sustaining agriculture, improving nutrition, and mitigating shocks on the livelihoods of smallholder African farmers in particular.
Ms. Tutwiler spoke on the contribution of biodiversity in boosting resilience, noting that “while climate change challenges productivity, agricultural biodiversity can buffer and insure the poor – those least equipped to deal with risk - against negative environmental effects and build resilience.”
Dr. Weise emphasized the intrinsic importance of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes, remarking that these integrated approaches are necessary “if we want to deliver nutritious food to a growing population, alleviate poverty, respect the environment and adapt to its changing face.”
The final declaration adopted by the 65 agriculture ministers present at the GFFA squarely integrates biodiversity as one of the three fundamental pillars in ensuring an efficient, adaptable and resilient agricultural sector: “Conserving and using diversity helps to increase the efficiency, adaptability and resilience of agriculture, lay the foundation for producing a diverse range of foods, and consequently contribute towards securing an adequate supply of sufficient, safe and nutritious food.”
The GFFA is organised by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in cooperation with GFFA Berlin e.V., the Senate of Berlin and Messe Berlin GmbH. In 2013, the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture was attended by around 2000 delegates from politics, business, science and civil society, as well as agriculture ministers from 76 countries.