We need to create sustainable livelihoods, whilst feeding a global population and safeguarding the natural environment. Farmers are key to meeting each of these challenges. Around the world, agriculture accounts for 37 per cent of employment, 34 per cent of land use, 70 per cent of water use and up to 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.
The majority of farmers live in the developing world. Growth from agriculture is at least twice as effective in reducing poverty than growth from any other sector, and it has one of the highest potentials to mitigate carbon emissions.
We need 70 per cent more food to feed a population of 9 billion by 2050. We must increase productivity and reduce waste. We must help farmers share knowledge, and access the training and inputs they need, to sustainably increase the quantity, quality and diversity of their crops. We also need to help them adapt to changing weather patterns, keep soil fertile and to tackle pests.
In order for agriculture to be sustainable, it must also be resilient to shocks. These shocks can be anything from a natural disaster, to a food price spike or outbreak of disease. Some come suddenly while others are predictable. And some are more severe while others slowly erode farmers’ ability to farm.