He lives in Washington, but his job requires him to have a global vision. Juergen Voegele, senior director of the World Bank’s Agriculture Global Practice visited Argentina recently, where his work agenda sought to link topics such as climate change, poverty, technology and agricultural production. There he met with officials of the Ministry of Agribusiness and private-sector representatives. In an interview with La Nación, Voegele said that climate change was an “opportunity” for Argentina given the agricultural technology it uses and global food consumption trends.
Why is the World Bank interested in agriculture and climate change?
As an organization, the World Bank has two goals: to reduce poverty and to improve incomes of the population living in developing countries. The latter should occur in conditions of equality, equity and sustainability. We know that 70% of the poor live in rural areas and most of them depend on agriculture. So, if we want to reach the poor, we must work with agriculture.
What do you mean when you say sustainable?
We are talking about sustainability of the land, the soil and biodiversity. It is crucial for humanity to reduce the carbon footprint. Agriculture is a significant contributor to climate change. Globally, it is responsible for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions. But just as it is part of the problem, it is also part of the solution because it allows for reabsorption of carbon dioxide.
What role does technology have in this process?
It plays a key role because some technologies are climate-smart while others are not. We believe that farmers should adopt smart technologies. This involves three dimensions. First, high yields are needed to increase production. In 2050, we will need to feed 9 billion people, but in a sustainable way. Second, resilience and adaption to climate change must increase. And third, we should use technology that helps to reduce the carbon footprint. No-till farming, which has a long tradition in Argentina, is a good technology. Planting trees and producing biogas are other examples.