Press Esc to close
Thursday 23 February 2017
News updated at 2:45 AM IST
Weather
Max: 34.5°C
Min : 19.3°C
In Bengaluru
clear sky

Farming needs smart, sustainable solutions: Report

Richard Black, April 2 2012, New York Times News Service
Major changes are needed in agriculture and food consumption around the world if future generations are to be adequately fed, a major report warns. Farming must intensify sustainably, cut waste and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farms, it says.

The Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change spent more than a year assessing evidence from scientists and policymakers. Its final report was released at the Planet Under Pressure conference. The commission was chaired by Sir John Beddington, the UK government’s chief scientific adviser.

“If you’re going to generate enough food both to address the poverty of one billion people not getting enough food with another billion (in the global population) in 13 years’ time, you’ve got to massively increase agriculture,” he said. “You can’t do it using the same agricultural techniques we’ve used before, because that would seriously increase greenhouse gas emissions for the whole world, with climate change knock-ons.”

Farming is probably responsible for about one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, although the figure is hard to pin down, as a large proportion comes from land clearance, for which emissions are notoriously difficult to measure.

Although there are regional variations, climate change is forecast to reduce crop yields overall – dramatically so in the case of South Asia, where studies suggest the wheat yield could halve in 50 years.

“We need to develop agriculture that is ‘climate smart’ – generating more output without the accompanying greenhouse gas emissions, either via the basic techniques of farming or from plowing up grassland or cutting down rainforest,” Beddington said.

The techniques needed in different regions vary according to what is appropriate, said Dr Christine Negra, who coordinated the commission’s work.

“In places where using organic methods, for example, is appropriate or economically advantageous and produces good socioeconomic and ecological outcomes, that’s a great approach,” she said. “In places where, using GMOs, you can address food security challenges and socioeconomic issues, those are the right approaches to use where they’ve been proven safe.” The commission’s recommendations go a long way beyond farming methods, however. It says the economic and policy framework around food production and consumption need to change to encourage sustainability, to raise output while minimising environmental impacts.

Farmers need more investment and better information; governments need to put sustainable farming at the heart of national policies.

Professor Tekalign Mamo, who advises the Agriculture Ministry in Ethiopia, said models already existed for many of the transformations needed. One, highlighted in the report, is Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program, inaugurated in 2003 with the involvement of the government and international partners.

India’s guarantee of employment in rural areas, Vietnam’s progress with no-till rice farming (which reduces greenhouse gas emissions from soil), and moves to give women secure land ownership in five southern African countries are also highlighted in the report. But it also recommends changes in developed nations – for example, around food waste. Before last December’s UN climate conference in South Africa, the commissioners had advocated incorporating sustainable agriculture into the UN climate convention’s discussions.

The commission was established by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, the global network of institutions working on food and poverty issues.

The Planet Under Pressure conference is a gathering of academics, campaigners and business people in London designed to inform policymaking in the run-up to the Rio+20 summit in Brazil in June.


 

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Fake notes of Rs 2000 which were dispensed by an SBI ATM in south Delhi...

Fake notes of Rs 2000 which were dispensed by an SBI ATM in south Delhi...

Chief Minister of Gujarat Vijay Rupani gives envelop to a newly married couple of Brahmin Community.

Chief Minister of Gujarat Vijay Rupani gives envelop to a newly married couple of Brahmin Community.

Tigers playing with each other in cage at Sarthana National Park (Surat) in Surat...

Tigers playing with each other in cage at Sarthana National Park (Surat) in Surat...

Akshar Yoga chain members performs stunts during the awareness programme on self defense ...

Akshar Yoga chain members performs stunts during the awareness programme on self defense ...

A speeding truck overturned at Atul Kataria Chowk in Gurugram on Wednesday. Two passengers...

A speeding truck overturned at Atul Kataria Chowk in Gurugram on Wednesday. Two passengers...

Bollywood actors Varun Dhawan and Aliya Bhatt during the promotion of their upcoming movie ...

Bollywood actors Varun Dhawan and Aliya Bhatt during the promotion of their upcoming movie ...

All India Agricultural University students participated 17th Agri Unifest procession...

All India Agricultural University students participated 17th Agri Unifest procession...

Election officers gather at a distribution centre to receive Electronic Voting Machines for their...

Election officers gather at a distribution centre to receive Electronic Voting Machines for their...

Polling officers receive polling material at a distribution center on the eve of fourth phase pol...

Polling officers receive polling material at a distribution center on the eve of fourth phase pol...

Polling officers collect election material before departing for their respective booths from a dis..

Polling officers collect election material before departing for their respective booths from a dis..

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523