Green Economy

THIS IS THE STORY OF
AGRICULTUREGREEN ECONOMY
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We need to make the global economy green. Agriculture provides significant opportunities for growth, investment and jobs to help make this happen.
Everyone needs agriculture. Agriculture feeds our entire population and produces fibre for clothing, feed for livestock and bioenergy. Particularly in the developing world, agriculture contributes significantly to GDP growth, leads the way in poverty reduction and accounts for the lion's share of employment opportunities, especially for women. Agriculture also has one of the highest potentials for reducing carbon emissions and helping vulnerable people adapt to climate change.
Explore Farming First’s Infographic on the Green Economy

1

How can we feed future generations?

As world population grows, crop production needs to keep up.
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To feed a global population of 9 billion by 2050 will require a 70 percent increase in global food production.

World Population UN DESA Crop Production FAOSTAT

Increasing yields is an important way to help protect land.
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The World Bank estimates that 1 hectare of land will need to feed 5 people in 2025, whereas in 1960 1 hectare was required to feed only 2 people.

FAO

2

How can we reduce poverty around the world?

Poverty remains largely a rural problem.
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Of the 1.4 billion people living in poverty, 1 billion live in rural areas.

Rural Poverty IFAD

Growth in agriculture is the most powerful force for reducing poverty.
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GDP growth from agriculture generates at least twice as much poverty reduction than any other sector.

Poverty Reduction ODI

3

Why does agriculture matter to a green economy?

Worldwide, agriculture accounts for...
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We need to create livelihoods in places where these resources are managed, and it is in these areas that people are most vulnerable.

water IWMI land ForesightGHG EMISSIONS WRIlabour CIA, World Bank female employment FAO Employment by sector ILO

4

Where do we invest to build a green economy?

Since 1980, foreign aid and domestic investment in agriculture have fallen.
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Public spending allocated to agriculture declined to under 7% in 2000, and the share of ODA to agriculture fell to 5% in 2004.

ODA IFPRI Government Spending World Bank

Meanwhile the rate of crop yield growth is slowing down.
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Grain yield growth in developing countries has fallen from 3% per year between 1961-2007 to 1% increase per year today.

FAO

The example of China shows how investments in research can improve crop yields.
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For China, aggregate growth originating in agriculture is estimated to have been 3.5 times more effective in reducing poverty than growth outside agriculture.

Investment in R&D IFPRI Cereal yield World Bank

5

How can we build a more sustainable supply chain?

Over the past 4 years, prices have been volatile. Countries have reacted by reducing exports.
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Between 2006 and 2008, international food prices doubled. In 2008, some 40 countries imposed bans or restrictions on exports of food.

Food price FAO exports WTO

This causes food shortages around the world, while worldwide obesity levels are also increasing.
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The 2008 food price spikes pushed about 100 million poor people into the ranks of the world's hungry while the level of obesity worldwide has doubled since the 1980s.

Hunger FAO Obesity WHO study

Losses throughout the supply chain result in far too much food never reaching the plate.
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It has been estimated that as much as 30% of all food grown worldwide may be lost or wasted before and after it reaches the consumer. Some estimates have placed it as high as 50%.

Field FAO, Crop Protection Research Institute Storage FAO Packaging AVRDC Consumers Foresight

6

How can we manage environmental sustainability
with economic viability?

Climate change threatens our global economy.
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Unabated climate change could cost the world at least 5% of GDP each year. Farmers in the least developed countries are amongst the most vulnerable.

Stern Report

But agriculture has a huge mitigation potential.
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Improvements in crop yield since the 1960s have reduced emissions by up to 13 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

Burney et al

Water is crucial and is probably agriculture's critical limiting factor.
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Around 1.2 billion people, or almost one-fifth of the world's population, live in areas of physical scarcity, and 500 million people are approaching this situation.

2030 Water Resources Group

Improving water productivity in agriculture through increased yields and drip irrigation is key.
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In theory, a 1% increase in water productivity in food production makes available an extra 24 litres a day per person.

Yield increase IWMI Drip Irrigation IWRA

Large areas of the world's cropland are seriously degraded.
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By 2050, an estimated half of current arable land will become unusable due to desertification and land degradation.

IFAD

Good agricultural practices can help preserve and protect arable land.
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Minimum or no tillage can help reduce soil erosion by 50-98% and also improves soil quality and moisture retention.

FAO

There are three dimensions to sustainable development: social, economic, and environmental. Knowledge sharing is critical to supporting these dimensions, and extension and advisory services are a vital knowledge-sharing institution. Extension is key for linking scientific research, field-level innovations and innovators, markets, education, and other service providers.

For the Rio+20 meetings, The Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS), together with Farming First, FAO, IFPRI and WHO, has published a position paper entitled “Building Knowledge Systems in Agriculture” accompanied by a factsheet about extension services and a selection of case studies.

Download the GFRAS Position Paper on Building Knowledge Systems in Agriculture (pdf)

Download the GFRAS Position Paper (Summary) on Building Knowledge Systems in Agriculture (pdf)

Download the Case Studies on Extensions Services (pdf)

Download the GFRAS Fact Sheet on Extension Services (pdf)