At the heart of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
Agriculture is inextricably linked to economic development. Agriculture needs to be sustainable for there to be sustainable development.
During the Leaders and Entrepreneurs in Agriculture Forum 2018, Dr. William Dar, the newly appointed Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, has the following recommendations:
1. No Poverty
Cultivating entrepreneurship will create more agri-based small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to help generate more income, increase employment, and reduce poverty.
2. Zero Hunger
Agricultural technology can enhance food production, lower production costs, and reduce wastage. Improved incomes of farmers will also increase their purchasing power for food.
3. Good Health and Well-Being
Only 12 plant crops and animal species produce 75% of the world food supply; explore opportunities for discovering new food sources or developing existing varieties to better deliver nutritional value.
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4. Quality Education
Field-level knowledge and information should be shared, particularly to smallholders. Promote stronger linkages and collaboration among various research and development (R&D) institutions, including state colleges and universities. Establish commodity-based R&D institutes to process high-value products with export potential.
5. Gender Equality
Seven out of 10 farm laborers are women; enhancing the capabilities of women will support rural development.
6. Clean Water and Sanitation
The Philippines has an annual rainfall of 2,100 millimeters: save water through (community-based) rainwater harvesting. Farmers can also tap the potential for precision agriculture by developing injection systems.
7. Affordable and Clean Energy
Use renewable energy sources. Cascade data and knowledge and assess technologies to enhance energy security.
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
Around 40% of the world’s population are employed in agriculture. Governments should provide incentives and develop policies in support of agriculture, whereas practitioners can take a total integrated value chain approach—optimizing the supply chain to link small producers to global markets.
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Comparatively, 30% of agricultural products in developing countries, versus 98% of products in developed countries, undergo industrial processing. There is a need for agricultural research and innovation with commercial applicability for smallholder farmers.
13. Climate Action
Climate-smart agriculture will provide improved (i.e., climate-resilient) varieties to farmers and put into place crop management practices adapted to local conditions that farmers have to contend with.
17. Partnerships for the Goals
Around 79% of imports from developing countries enter developed countries duty-free; export opportunities should be targeted so that farmers can benefit. They must be taught to compete by not only increasing yield but also adding value to farm products. Local markets should be linked to global markets, perhaps with big corporations partnering with small farmers in “corporatives.”
The AGREA Team / Drink PH
Posted 12:30 PM, 17 August 2019
Updated 12:30 PM, 17 August 2019
This article, “How agriculture can help achieve the SDGs” first appeared in Redefining + Revitalizing Agriculture, Leaders and Entrepreneurs in Agriculture Forum (LEAF) 2018 Terminal Report