Speaking with a Single Voice on Agriculture

This letter to the editor by Bruce Campbell, the Director of the  CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, and a lead organizer of Agriculture & Rural Development Day 2011, appears in today’s Financial Times. Read it below.

Sir, In your November 26 editorial “Inconvenient truth”, you rightly point out that “leaders must fortify popular support for the solutions” to climate change. But we must also, as scientists, policymakers, businesspeople and financial institutions, help them by building consensus amongst ourselves on the most urgent priorities to be addressed.

To this end, my research organisation has joined more than a dozen other agricultural groups, including three United Nations agencies, the World Bank, the World Farmers’ Organisation and the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions, to speak with a single voice to negotiators at the upcoming climate talks in Durban.

Together, we call on climate negotiators to endorse a work programme for agriculture, a sector that astonishingly remains out of any climate deal despite being the sector that will be particularly hit by climate change and accounting for between 16 and 29 per cent of total emissions.

The “more extreme heatwaves and coastal flooding” to which you refer will impact poor farmers most, especially in the developing world. The agricultural sector must be empowered to take early action to determine the long-term investments needed to transform agriculture to meet future food and energy challenges effectively.

Bruce Campbell, Director, CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, International Centre for Tropical Agriculture; c/o Department of Agriculture and Ecology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.