Agriculture at a Crossroads: International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD)

This report, commonly known as the World Agriculture Report or IAASTD Report, is formally called Agriculture at a Crossroads: International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). It is widely recognised as one of the most important scientific publications acknowledging the critical role of agroecology, in the last 1o years. More than 400 scientists, stemming from all continents and a broad spectrum of disciplines, worked together for four years with the aim of answering the following question:

How can we reduce hunger and poverty, improve rural livelihoods and facilitate equitable, environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development through the generation of, access to, and use of agricultural knowledge, science and technology?”

The IAASTD report is a call for governments and international agencies to redirect and increase their funding towards a revolution in agriculture that is firmly agroecological. The core message of the final IAASTD report is the urgent need to move away from destructive and chemical-dependent industrial agriculture and to adopt environmental modern farming methods that champion biodiversity and benefit local communities. More and better food can be produced without destroying rural livelihoods or our natural resources. Local, socially and environmentally responsible methods are the solution. The IAASTD also concluded that such techniques as genetic engineering are no solution for soaring food prices, hunger and poverty.

For several decades, the World Bank had seriously neglected investments in the agricultural sector. The IAASTD was hence set up to take stock of global agricultural knowledge and evaluate where and how the World Bank could best invest in the agricultural development of the poorest countries. The aim was to find out which future approaches should be adopted by the 15 international agricultural research centres (CGIAR) administered by the World Bank and which role the controversial technique of genetic engineering should play in feeding the world’s hungry.

The urgent need to move away from destructive and chemical-dependent industrial agriculture and to adopt environmental modern farming methods that champion biodiversity and benefit local communities.