On September 29, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva issued a call for climate smart agriculture and a “paradigm shift towards sustainable agriculture and family farming.” It is a theme we have seen in a number of recent reports by leading organizations, including:
- FAO's Climate-Smart Agriculture Sourcebook;
- Sustainable Intensification: A New Paradigm for African Agriculture, a Montpellier Panel Report by the Imperial College of London; and
- Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing, a report from the United Nations' High Level Panel on Global Sustainability.
As Secretary of State John Kerry noted on World Food Day, “The nexus between climate change and food security is undeniable.” A growing world population requires substantial productivity increases while climate change poses real threats to production output. By 2050, the global population is expected to increase by another 2 billion people. According to the FAO, that means agricultural production will need to increase by sixty percent if there's any hope of meeting the increased demand for food and feed.
These are just a few of the many studies urging greater sensitivity to the environment and “sustainable” agricultural practices. Gone are the days of planting crops from fence-row to fence-row while using the maximum amount of inputs. But what is meant by the term sustainable agriculture production?
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