039 Scaling up evidence based sustainable agriculture practices: Case studies from 3 European Countries

Dialogue and knowledge sharing on how consumers, scientists, farmers, policy makers and private sector actor can come together to grow and manufacture

Organizers

  • Permanent Representation of Czech Republic
  • Crop Research Institute of Prague
  • Good Planet Foundation
  • Danone Early Life Nutrition

Abstract

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it requires locally adapted agricultural practices that promote productivity, maintain environmental stability and improves rural livelihood. Agroecology is a crucial path in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and bringing a well-functioning agricultural and food system. Agroecology at its best can make use of multiple solutions including technology and traditional techniques, improved inputs and outputs and applying localized and practical knowledge based solutions, which gives way for intensification of agriculture and greater food production while complying with the ecological imperatives.   

Innovative methods, like using scientific and evidence-based methods are needed to achieve synergies which will help to support food production, food security and nutrition while generating ecosystem services and conserving biodiversity.

Innovations which includes technological solutions, such as precision agriculture, integrated crop management, conservation tillage, are closely involved in bringing agroecology, encouraging farmers to adopt new practices and achieving sustainable improvements in farming, food safety and nutrition. The side-event is designed as a multistakeholder approach with private sector, research organization and farmers from several European countries sharing their experiences in being part of the “Socrates” program.

Launched in 2014, Socrates promotes sustainable agriculture through Danone Early Life Nutrition's supply chain. During the event, farmer panelists will show their support to adopt new sustainable farming practices, particularly in enhancing biodiversity on farms and trying new regenerative crop protection methods. The program was built based on continuous research development and long-term relationship between the farmers and private sector. It provides training with experts, sharing practices regularly at the farms and conducting field trials with local research institute. Joining the farmers on the panel will be a representative from the Crop Life Research Institute of Prague who will share his scientific research and experience of his involvement in the development of the farmers' training and co-creation of research trials as well as a representative from Good Planet Foundation who will give insights to the expectations of modern consumers.

Key speakers/presenters

  • H.E Mario Arvelo, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the Rome-based Agencies, CFS Chair
  • Martin Bloem, Director/Professor, Center for a Livable Future Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Agnes Baudet, Global Quality and Food Safety Director, Danone Specialized Nutrition
  • Kamil Holy, Researcher, Crop Institute of Prague
  • Henri Landes, CEO, Good Planet Foundation
  • Jan Senk, Farmer from Czech Republic / Sady Bile Podoli
  • Antoine Proffit, Farmer from France / La Madrague
  • Klaudiusz Matejka, Farmer from Poland / Gospodarstwo Roine

Main themes/issues discussed

Promoting the use of traditional and sustainable techniques to increase biodiversity in agriculture, agroecology is crucial in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This side-event showcased academic research, insights in consumer expectations and experiences from 3 European farmers from the Czech Republic, France and Poland in scaling up sustainable agricultural practices. These experts work closely with the Danone “Socrates program”.  Launched in 2014, “Socrates” promotes sustainable agriculture throughout the agri-food supply chain by linking research, food production, food safety and nutritional outcomes with an emphasis on collaborative multi-stakeholder approach.

Summary of key points

Investing in biodiversity has positive effects not only on insects but also on soil in a way that influences the entire farming system. Farms with more flowers and more insects are healthier and more productive than farms without a large insect and pollinator population. There are challenges to producing vegetables for baby food, as the quality and safety standards are strict and get stricter every year. With new developments and innovations (ranging from low-tech to high-tech), farming can and should be seen as a dynamic and intellectually stimulating career for new generations. Food processors work alongside farmers to improve the grade of a food product within a reasonable timeframe, without disproportionately compromising that farmer’s ability to make a profit on their product.

Key take away messages

We must produce safe products for babies, and producing that food is an exciting business opportunity for farmers. There is high demand for complementary foods that adhere to high levels of quality, and innovative farmers can significantly increase their profits by implementing baby-grade practices.

Farmers can – and must – work within the SDGs and deserve to be celebrated for their contributions to ending world hunger.

Food quality and food safety is essential. Ensuring that food is safe to eat requires many partnerships and consistency along the food value chain. Technical expertise is required, as well as professionalism in areas such as marketing, research, retail, and business.

CFS - Side Event 039: Scaling up evidence based sustainable agriculture practices: Case studies from 3 European Countries.