Brittany Laidlaw the 2012 United Nations Rio+20 Summit where she represented Griffith University. Brittany is studying a Bachelor of Business majoring in Sustainable Enterprise and is a member of the Honours college.
Feeding the excess 2.3 billion people set to occupy the planet by 2050 will be a paramount concern at the Rio+20 UN Conference for Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in June 2012. Effective commitments towards securing global food security and rethinking the future of commercial agriculture production will be a fundamental priority. However, the expansion of Western agricultural systems imposes a significant threat to the implementation of sustainable agriculture.
This paper highlights the devastating economic, ecological and health implications of widely-adopted Western agricultural systems within developing nations with a focus on pesticide use in West Africa and in particular, Benin. Upon evaluation of sustainable alternatives such as Integrated Pest Management, this paper found that IPM is essential to the protection of natural ecosystems, the eradication of poverty and food insecurities within West Africa and the continent as a whole. As a recommendation this paper calls for:
Innovative strategies for the implementation of sustainable and environmentally sound methods that reside with the restoration of the earth’s biodiversity which help with the reduction of crop losses and minimisation of environmental and health hazards;
More stringent commitments to the implementation of IPM programs and the transition to more sustainable agricultural practices where government funding has been significantly lacking;
Significant government funding for research and development as well as support in the widespread deliver of IPM messages which remain largely under-financed and overstretched;
Stricter pesticide restrictions that identify public health as a major concern in their application;
More focus to be placed on the development of Farmer Field Schools and various education programs to increase the adoption rates among small-scale farmers as well as incentives for sustainable practices; and
Member nations to recognise the inherent link between of food security and sustainability, whereby these agendas are intrinsically connected and require effective governance to ensure their pursuit.