A perspective from Giulia Di Tommaso, President & CEO CropLife International
The UN Food Systems Summit will gather for the first-time stakeholders from across the agri-food chain to identify key levers and game-changing solutions to address one of the world’s biggest challenges: how to feed the world with more nutritious food within the planetary boundaries.
It’s a unique opportunity that should not be missed to build an open and truly inclusive dialogue with all stakeholders. To constructively engage with those who may not share the same views and beliefs or experiences. To break through silos and build innovative partnerships in search of solutions to address unprecedented challenges.
CropLife International is leading the plant science industry on its engagement at the Summit. We see it as a key moment to collectively debate the role innovation and technology can play in the sustainable intensification of agriculture for sustainable food systems, and to address some of the emerging challenges in GHG emissions, soil health, biodiversity loss, amongst other key issues.
In our own work in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we are working with our members towards the global ambitions of Zero Hunger, carbon neutrality and nature-positive solutions. We will leverage our commitments on product stewardship and responsible innovation, grounded in science and transparency, towards these objectives.
Our recent partnership with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which supports the achievement of SDG 17, is another example of how through meaningful partnerships we can address some of the great challenges to deliver sustainable food systems. These include boosting farmer resilience to climate change, supporting the economic and social recovery of our rural communities post-COVID-19, and ultimately addressing Zero Hunger.
In support of our FAO collaboration, we are working on the implementation of the Global Action for Fall Armyworm Control, the sound management of pesticides for sustainable intensification of agriculture, as well as on new opportunities in the field of digital agriculture and data sharing.
Working with other stakeholders also means pioneering solutions that have a positive impact on the natural world. For example, climate-smart solutions that can make agriculture more resilient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and solutions that can grow more nutritious foods with less resources for a hungry world. Scientists are developing drought- and salt-tolerant varieties of staple crops like maize and rice and pioneering new seed treatments and coatings to protect crops from pests and diseases.
Game-changing technology is also emerging to support farmers to adapt to unpredictable weather and disease. With diagnostic apps, farmers can now use the camera on their phone to identify pests and determine the best treatment. On some farms, drones are buzzing around fields supporting farmers to determine how much water and fertilizer their crops need.
In preparation for the Summit, we are exploring opportunities working together with other stakeholders on new global initiatives to address soil health and carbon sequestration, as well as exploring innovative mechanisms to reduce global food loss. These types of coalitions are essential in bringing ideas and joint actions from the private sector through the entire ag-food chain on issues such as soil health.
Developing partnerships is also key to bring university and industry scientists together to conduct game-changing research with plant science technologies. Collaborations can generate the much-needed data to develop better nature-positive solutions and give all farmers access to innovations, and the knowledge and resources to grow more sustainably.
We know our work in this area is not without challenges and challengers, but we see it as fully aligned with our vision and purpose and we are committed to listening and working in partnership with all key stakeholders to deliver sustainable food systems.
The opportunity and challenges before us are simply too big to be met by one company or organization alone. Cultivating sustainable change from seed to farm to fork requires new approaches. One where the private sector joins with public institutions, government, and civil society to achieve the SDGs.
My hope is that for the first time we are all at the UN Food Systems Summit in a fully inclusive conversation seeking to advance this shared ambition to secure the future for sustainable food systems.