Released as press release volume 1/2023

Özdemir: "Build grain silos instead of sending grain sacks"

Ministers of Agriculture from 70 countries commit to the sustainable transformation of food systems – Russian attack on Ukraine condemned

At the invitation of Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir, some 70 Ministers of Agriculture from all over the world along with representatives of more than ten international organisations came together at the 15th Berlin Conference of Agriculture Ministers to discuss how the right to food can be implemented worldwide. In their final declaration on the main theme of the conference "Transforming food systems: A global response to multiple crises", the Ministers of Agriculture made a commitment to promoting sustainable, inclusive and crisis-proof food systems. In addition, the participants pledged to make food available, affordable and safe for all in order to achieve the UN goal of "Zero Hunger" in the 2030 Agenda.

At the end of the Berlin Conference of Agriculture Ministers, Federal Minister Özdemir said: "The climate crisis, the global extinction of species and Putin's terrible war are reinforcing each other in the worst possible way. Worldwide, well in excess of 800 million people are starving, and more than two billion have no secure access to adequate food.  Berlin is sending a clear signal to the world today: we – the Agriculture Ministers who are responsible for feeding people – wish to jointly transform ago-food systems in order to realize the right to food for all in a lasting manner." 

In his message, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy likewise called on the Agriculture Ministers to adopt a global approach to food security. He stressed yet again just how crucial peace and safety are for global food security. The joint communiqué of the Agriculture Ministers contains some plain language about the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the ensuing global food insecurity. 

Federal Minister Özdemir stressed that humanitarian aid was essential, but it only helped in the short term. "Whereas war and the climate crisis inflict major damage in the blink of an eye, it takes time to cultivate fields. We need to move away from short-term crisis hopping. Our support must have a long-term impact. That is why we need to strengthen agricultural development worldwide, and to focus on long-term solutions. "Build grain silos instead of sending grain sacks" 

To this end, the Conference sends a strong signal about cooperation: "I am firmly convinced that we need to do more globally and strengthen the partnership dialogue on equal terms. For us, this means coming up now with offers for strategic, long-term partnerships," said Özdemir

The final communiqué of the 15th Berlin Conference of Agriculture Ministers can be found here. 

You can take another look here at the doorstep of Federal Minister Cem Özdemir and of Commissioner for Agriculture of the African Union, Josefa Sacko. 

Key outcomes of the 15th Berlin Conference of Agriculture Ministers 

  • Design crisis-free food systems: The aim is to promote crisis-proof food systems that are both sustainable and resilient. T This includes securing the economic basis for agriculture and decent working conditions. In particular, family–run and smallholder farms, women, youth, indigenous and vulnerable groups must be supported. The building blocks are the reduction of food waste and loss, rule-based trade, sustainable supply chains and the promotion of regional, site-adapted cultivation and greater diversity.
  • Promote climate-friendly food systems: In addition to meeting the 1.5 degree target and supporting the COP 27 targets for agriculture, greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced through sustainable soil and nutrient management and in livestock production. The adaptation of agriculture to climate change is to be supported. This also includes reducing energy consumption in the agricultural sector.
  • Drive forward the preservation and sustainable use of biodiversity: The preservation of biodiversity is an essential precondition for functioning food systems. Soil health and agro-ecology are to be enhanced in order to improve genetic diversity and agro-biodiversity. More efficient use is to be made of fertilisers and pesticides in order to reduce soil and water pollution. Deforestation and desertification are to be prevented.
  • Step up cooperation on sustainable global food systems: Important governance issues for securing the world's food supply are to be introduced into the discussion process. Furthermore, the results of the Conference of Agriculture Ministers are to be incorporated into the process of the UN Food Systems summit. The United Nations World Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is also to be strengthened, as is cross-sectoral cooperation on the One Health approach.

Released as press release