For Developing Nations, Scale Matters in Agriculture

CNN – Consensus is a cornerstone of building scientific knowledge and at the Commission on Science and Technology for Development, the ongoing UN conference, it was quickly reached: the world must address food insecurity. However, the consensus over how to address the pressing issue is less certain as developed and developing nations express conflicting views.

One issue has the potential to jeopardize the consensus: the scale of agriculture. Developing states like Thailand worry that efforts to spread agricultural practices common in Western nations, such as large-scale farming, will threaten the livelihood of their largely rural populations. The representative from El Salvador echoed this worry, saying that large-scale farming, characterised by the controversial use of GMOs, has the potential to be a point of contention in the committee. These nations have a supporter in Hungary, whose representative warned against the bureaucratic overhead required for extensive technological exchanges required for sharing modern technologies—such as fertilizers, farming equipment, and GMOs—adding “we want to avoid it.”

The United Kingdom has a more sanguine view of the committee’s work, believing that a consensus to tackle the issue will be reflected in a coherent international framework. As delegates work toward that desired agreement, they keep the 800 million living under food insecurity in mind, and work to prevent disagreements over the scale of agriculture from stopping the scale of the world’s hunger crisis from being reduced.