What We’ve Been Overlooking in the Great Debate on Livestock

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In this guest post, FAO Livestock Development Officer Anne Mottet outlines new research that reveals humans and livestock do not compete for earth’s resources as much as previously thought. We cannot expand the Earth boundaries. Our natural resources are finite. But every day there are more people on the planet, and how to feed them all remains a number one issue. The livestock sector is often cited as being particularly burdensome on the environment. In addition to the methane gas livestock emits, animals require a lot of nutritious feed. This feed needs to be grown on agricultural land, using water, energy and nutrients. It can be argued that this is an indirect and resource-intensive way of feeding the world. The picture is however more complex. There is currently no official and complete international database of what livestock consume. This is why FAO explored this issue in a recent study. What are livestock eating and how much animal food is produced with it? Read More

Agroecology in Action: Harnessing the Power of Orphan Crops

Any approach to boost productivity and food security must fit Africa’s myriad, small and distinct ecosystems. Read More

Agroecology in Action: with Professor Pedro Sanchez

Where in the world are agroecological approaches building soil health, beating pests and helping farmers stay productive while protecting the planet? Pedro Sanchez, Research Professor of Tropical Soils at the University of Florida Soil & Water Sciences Department continues our “Agroecology in Action” series with this guest post. Simply put, agroecology is a form of agriculture that takes maximum advantage of ecological processes. In some situations, nature is able to function as a closed system; take a tropical forest for example. When nutrients are finely balanced in the system, they are recycled, meaning there is no need for extra nutrient inputs to be added. Agriculture however, requires a regular harvesting of crops. This results in large amounts of essential nutrients being removed from the soil. Agroecological approaches must return these vital components to the soil, to ensure the soil stays healthy and can continue to grow the crops we require. This can be achieved through efficient fertilization— mineral, organic, or for the best results, both. Read More