18 de diciembre de 2013

Agriculture needs a deep transformation: Wake up before it is too late



The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has released a report about the future of agriculure.

Farming in rich and poor nations alike should shift from monoculture towards greater varieties of crops, reduced use of fertilizers and other inputs, greater support for small-scale farmers, and more locally focused production and consumption of food.

The report warns that continuing rural poverty, persistent hunger around the world, growing populations, and mounting environmental concerns must be treated as a collective crisis. It says that urgent and far-reaching action is needed before climate change begins to cause major disruptions to agriculture, especially in developing countries.

The report 'Wake up before it is too late: Make agriculture truly sustainable now for food security in a changing climate' notes that the sheer scale at which production methods would have to be modified under these proposals would pose considerable challenges. In addition, it would be necessary to correct existing imbalances between where food is produced and where it is needed, to reduce the power asymmetries that exist in agricultural input and food-processing markets, and to adjust current trade rules for agriculture.

The UNCTAD report identified key indicators for the transformation needed in agriculture:
  • Increasing soil carbon content and better integration between crop and livestock production, and increased incorporation of agroforestry and wild vegetation 
  • Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of livestock production 
  • Reduction of GHGs through sustainable peatland, forest and grassland management 
  • Optimization of organic and inorganic fertilizer use, including through closed nutrient cycles in agriculture
  • Reduction of waste throughout the food chains 
  • Changing dietary patterns toward climate-friendly food consumption 
  • Reform of the international trade regime for food and agriculture 

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