Agrobiodiversity manifestly important

The process leading up to the just-started 2nd International Agrobiodiversity Congress included coming up with the “Rome Manifesto: Using Agrobiodiversity to Transform Food Systems.” This highlights three “commitments to help tackle global challenges including climate change, malnutrition, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation.”

  1. Consume diverse foods in diets that are nutritious, sustainable, affordable, acceptable, safe, and accessible to all.
  2. Produce food in diverse, resilient, and sustainable food systems.
  3. Conserve agrobiodiversity to give people the options they need to sustainably and inclusively transform food systems and improve lives, both now and in the future.

Yeah but how, you ask? You’ll have to attend the congress to find out, I guess, or at least follow on Twitter

3 Replies to “Agrobiodiversity manifestly important”

  1. I am seriously worried about the direction taken by the `Alliance’ (Bioversity and CIAT) on `agrobiodiversity’, for example, their emphasis on the need to `consume diverse foods’. This has little to do with agrobiodiversity, which is field-based biodiversity, good and bad, including economic plant production other than food. The Alliance makes a repeated emphasis on `food system transformation’ rather than agriculture. My food mainly comes from our garden – that is, horticulture – with ample fish from local deep sea fisheries, and wild-gathered plants – not remotely agrobiodiversity. I do not want the Alliance trying to transform my food system.
    If the Alliance wants to focus on food they should stop misusing the term `agrobiodiversity’, a word I pioneered in 1992 and subsequently promoted widely and which is specifically for agriculture and not food.
    Food system transformation is better left to FAO – where the `F’ stands for food. For forty-six years the CG has included IFPRI – where the `F’ stands for food. An IFPRI report of 27th October 2021 is on `transforming food systems’: it is their specialist job and does not need duplicating.

    1. I don’t understand why you think this is a good place to air your concerns. Maybe the Alliance brass will see it, maybe they won’t. If you want them to pay any attention to you, you should take your concerns directly to them.

  2. Jeremy: Stop advising me what to do. And I don’t want anyone to `pay attention to me’. I want to stop `agrobiodiversity’ – a word I spent decades promoting – being captured by what seem to be food faddists in the Alliance.
    If you want to know what is wrong with the Alliance read the DG’s recent blog where he confuses monocultures with high vulnerability to disease. It has the title `Going against Nature’. It concludes that agrobiodiversity has many of the solutions. Perhaps, but agrobiodiversity has many of the problems – T4 is agrobiodiversity.
    Also, we have shown that cereal monocultures are a direct mimic of natural monodominance of wild relatives – as natural as you wish.
    This kind of drift from reality started long ago. The 2016 CIAT blog on “foreign crops” claims that ““Now we know just how much national diets and agricultural systems everywhere depend on crops that originated in other parts of the world.” There was no `now’ about it – we knew the figure and the reason why decades ago: Jennings and Cock publishing from CIAT and before that Purseglove.

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