FAO's commitment to global and sustainable agro-mechanics activities
A document with 15 key actions to be implemented as soon as possible marked the conclusion of the First Global Conference on Sustainable Agricultural Mechanisation, promoted by FAO and held at the end of September in Rome. Qu Dongyu, the body's director-general, said: "We need science-based solutions and innovations, and we need concrete actions"
More than 8,500 participants attended the first Global Conference on Sustainable Agricultural Mechanisation, organised by FAO and held in Rome, Italy, from 27 to 29 September. 300 delegates followed the proceedings directly, while overall 39% came from Africa and 29% from the Asia-Pacific region.
The conference concluded with a Call to Action outlining 15 key actions, organised in seven thematic sessions, developed to accelerate the transformation of global agri-food systems to make them more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable. This document supports the implementation of the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31 and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and assesses necessary activities aiming to increase farm access to electricity with various business models and financing schemes; promote precision agriculture especially for small-scale farming enterprises; create joint ventures with affordable projects for quality and high-tech post-harvest supply chains; incentivise climate-smart mechanisation and management systems, conservation and precision agriculture; commit to the development of technologies adapted to the needs of smallholder farmers by improving their digital skills; strengthen machinery supply chains; facilitate trade by encouraging the development and harmonisation of standards and testing protocols for agricultural machinery and implements; promote innovative and inclusive business models along the value chain, involving farmers, investors and small and medium-sized enterprises; strengthen national and international institutions for coordination and advice on sustainable agricultural mechanisation; and make mechanisation services more accessible for all farmers.
FAO, for its part, is committed to continue providing technical support at the national, regional and global levels through its existing and new channels; encourage, conduct and convene more policy dialogues; and support countries and national governments in the development and implementation of national policies, regulations and laws that support the sustainable development of agricultural mechanisation.
During the days of the Conference, an exhibition of agricultural vehicles and equipment - from electric tractors and combine harvesters to drones and weeding robots - was set up in the outdoor area of the FAO headquarters, providing an overview of the latest technical developments in the agricultural machinery sector serving the entire agri-food chain, for all types and sizes of agriculture.
More than 40 technologies from 13 countries were on display, representing Asia, Oceania, Africa and Central, South and North America, with a focus on equipment used in projects in sub-Saharan Africa.
The exhibition, which brought together more than 20 different companies from the private sector, start-ups and a CGIAR centre, aimed at providing an insight into how mechanisation can have a positive impact on production and the efficient use of resources while respecting the environment.
Also presented in the context of the exhibition, there were twelve success stories from around the world in the livestock sector where the innovative solutions adopted have enabled production that improves livelihoods and nutrition, benefiting people, animals and the planet.
The conference included as a speaker Alessandro Malavolti, an entrepreneur in the sector, former president of FederUnacoma and currently vice president of Cema, the European body representing agricultural machinery manufacturers.
For Qu Dongyu, FAO Director-General, the Conference and Exhibition provided "a comprehensive platform for governments, the private sector, academia, farmers and civil society to move from words to action".