MS Swaminathan: We can realise our dreams of food for all

Taken from a lecture by the Unesco Chair in Ecotechnology, given at Gresham College, in the City of London

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Agriculture in most developing countries is not just a food producing enterprise, but is the backbone of sustainable ecological and livelihood security systems. It is the foundation for national sovereignty. Agricultural progress represents the best safety net against hunger, and food is a powerful tool for socially meaningful development.

Agriculture in most developing countries is not just a food producing enterprise, but is the backbone of sustainable ecological and livelihood security systems. It is the foundation for national sovereignty. Agricultural progress represents the best safety net against hunger, and food is a powerful tool for socially meaningful development.

Prime farmland should be conserved in the same manner as national parks. Agri-reserves are as important for safeguarding food security as biosphere reserves are for conserving biodiversity. Unfortunately, the importance of conserving prime farmland for food production is yet to receive the attention it deserves.

Community food banks can help to make food a powerful instrument of compassion and love, leading to the spread of a caring and sharing culture. The spread of the CFB movement in the hunger hotspots of the world will be the speediest method of achieving the goal of food for all. The uncommon opportunity provided by a food grain surplus world should not be missed.

The World Summit for Sustainable Development scheduled to be held at Johannesburg in August and September provides an opportunity for partnership. It is in the long-term enlightened self-interest of the rich that they should match the words they will speak and the sentiments they will express at Johannesburg with action as expressed by a firm commitment of financial and technical resources for fostering sustainable human security, of which sustainable food security is the foundation.

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