Sustainable agriculture is all about creating viable rural livelihoods, whilst feeding a global population and safeguarding the natural environment. Farmers are key to meeting each of these challenges.
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Youth in Agriculture
The agricultural labour force is ageing globally, yet rural youth unemployment is also a growing concern. Showing young people the huge potential that careers in agriculture can offer will be key. Agriculture is a growing sector in need of talent. It is key to addressing the world’s biggest challenges. And it is a sector full of innovation and opportunity.
Agriculture and the Green Economy
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.
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.
Science & innovation in Agriculture
We need 70 per cent more food to feed a population of nine 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. This can only be achieved through science and innovation.
Innovations for Sustainable Food Systems
With our global population expected to reach 8.6 billion by 2030, making our food systems more sustainable is imperative. But this will only be possible by developing and deploying innovative tools and approaches around the world. To be economically sustainable, these innovations must provide incomes and create jobs. To be socially sustainable, they must include poor and vulnerable communities and reduce levels of hunger and malnutrition. To be environmentally sustainable, they must help us safeguard water, soil and air quality while minimising greenhouse gas emissions, and food loss and waste.
What Farmers Need in Future Food Systems
Farming First hosted an Independent Food Systems Summit Dialogue for supporter organisations, to capture the perspectives of those working most closely in food production around the world – namely farmers, input suppliers, researchers, business/industry, development practitioners, information technologists, financiers and civil society groups. Centred around the theme, ‘What Farmers Need in Future Food Systems’, the Dialogue brought together more than 60 participants from around the world for a series of rich discussions on challenges and opportunities relating to the UN Food Systems Summit’s five Action Tracks.