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Achieving Resilient Agricultural Systems: Innovation, People and Partnerships
November 13 and 14, 2008

Agricultural production systems - Description of Sub-Theme

“The main challenge for the agricultural sector is to simultaneously: secure enough high-quality agricultural production to meet demand; conserve biodiversity and manage natural resources; and improve human health and well-being”

- Agricultural Ecosystems: Facts and Trends, WBCSD and IUCN, 2008 -

The above quote speaks to the significant range of benefits that agricultural production systems are being asked to provide in the interest of sustainable development. In light of the global food crisis and growing resource scarcity, there has been significant debate around how to meet this challenge – domestically and around the world. It is generally recognized that if Canadian agricultural production systems are to foster resilience, there should be adequate support for farmers and prudent management of natural resources among many other key elements. The role of a number of trends and approaches are important to consider in any discussion about resilience, including the intensification of agricultural activity and concentration of production on fewer farms, an expansion of the cultivation of genetically-modified (GM) crops, the rise of consumer interest in organic and locally produced food, a shifting international trading climate, and the impacts of climate change on agriculture. The potential for research, technology, innovation, and education to contribute to sustainable development must also be considered.

Participants at CIELAP’s workshop will share and discuss case studies to explore elements and practices that can help address the stated challenge of meeting production needs in a way that fosters resilience and advances sustainable development.

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