On Thursday, October 20, the WFO Secretary General Arianna Giuliodori addressed the special event “Innovations in Soil and Plant Nutrient Management” hosted by FAO and the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) within this year’s Science and Innovation Forum (SIF2022) organized by FAO together with the World Food Forum (WFF) and the FAO Hand-in-Hand Investment Forum, from 17 to October 21. 

Ms Giuliodori brought the farmers’ perspective into the debate on innovation, soil health, efficient plant nutrient management and the challenges associated with access to fertilizers. 

Opening her speech, she clarified that “as farmers, we are aware that we play a key role in the uptake and development of solutions which increase soil health”.
The WFO SG remarked, “farmers are here to  state a clear message: we need to consider them as actors, as stakeholders in this context, not as a target, not as beneficiaries. 

“Agriculture is the only sector that can position itself as the solution.” – WFO Secretary General, Arianna Giuliodori 

Farmers are ready to sit at the decision-making tables with the solutions they are already implementing wherever they are, from Zimbabwe to Germany. As WFO we know that very well: we gathered many best practices of farmers of all sizes and from all continents to improve the quality and the health of their soils.
“Those best practices are assessed and validated by science– stated the WFO SG“and show that taking care of the soil means that we could have multiple benefits and address multiple challenges at the same time.” 

But we must consider that farmers face many barriers in implementing innovation on their farms, not only the lack of physical and digital infrastructures; there are also cultural barriers, especially for women and youth.” WFO SG underlined in front of the audience of the SIF2022 special event – “Policy-makers must create a conducive environment for women and youth.” 

The WFO Secretary General then put light on the fact that all the innovative solutions and all the technologies we can provide to farmers can’t be effective if we don’t consider that farmers are agripreneurs. They can’t implement something that is not profitable on their farms: “we must provide them with the widest possible toolbox where they are going to pick the solution that is the most adaptive to their reality. 

“Farmers call for an authentic holistic approach in the decision-making processes, where all the stakeholders work together.” – WFO Secretary General, Arianna Giuliodori 

 Ms Giuliodori closed her speech by saying that to succeed in protecting and restoring soils, we must work on soil management and health in a holistic way, considering all the elements that have an impact on the soil but also all the benefits that we can achieve through soils.