The Mozambican Minister of Agriculture, Jose Pacheco, has warned that the greatest challenge facing the governments of developing countries lies in taking more vigorous legal measures to defend land intended for agricultural production. Pacheco is quoted by state Mozambique News Agency (AIM), as saying it is scrupulous compliance with legal instruments adopted by governments that will ensure that these agricultural areas are untouchable, thus protecting the land that is so vital for food and nutritional security.
According to AIM, Pacheco was addressing the Eighth Global Forum on Food and Agriculture, which took place in the German capital between Thursday and Saturday and ran under the theme “How to Feed the Cities? Agriculture and the Rural Areas in the Era of Urbanisation”.
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Agenda recognizes the importance of food and nutritional security and the sustainable development of agriculture. Goal 11 in this agenda is to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Current demographic projections forecast that by 2050 three quarters of the world’s population will be living in cities, raising the challenge of how they can all be fed.
Pacheco recognized that the urban population is growing at a very fast pace, but warned that this growth is at the expense of areas of agricultural production. When people want to construct another building, they don’t consider preserving the areas that was once productive and used to contribute to citizens’ food security, he lamented.
A point of balance needed to be found in the conception of precisely how cities will grow. Among the various experiences mentioned in the debates, he said, has been the proposal for vertical growth that is, that cities should grow upwards and thus will not encroach upon the areas of agricultural production which people need for their survival.
The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture is an international conference which focuses on central questions for the future of the food industry.
According to the web page of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the forum gives representatives from the worlds of politics, business, science and civil society an opportunity to share ideas and enhance understanding on a selected topic of current agricultural policy.