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World food production needs to be doubled to sustain the global population, which will reach 10,000 million by 2050 over the next 30 years.
Compared to 2010, 7,400 tons more calories per year will be needed in 2050. If food production rises in line with current trends, it will need twice as much space as India.
Why Is Agriculture So Important
These are the results of a report published by the World Resources Institute in December on the “food gap” between current production and increasing consumption.
The Importance Of Sustainable Agriculture
One answer to fill this gap is to exploit more land, but that alone will not solve the problem. Finding this amount of land in the right conditions would lead to the end of many of the remaining forests, peatlands and deserts in the world and the release of accumulated carbon, accelerating climate change.
Intensive agriculture has already had a major impact on biodiversity and the environment around the world. Pesticides that helped increase grain and fruit production also killed bees and several insect species in large numbers.
Fertilizers that improved poor soil also had unintended adverse effects. The largest marine “dead site” in history was discovered last year in the Gulf of Mexico as a result of a manure and manure dump in the meat industry. Chemical fertilizers also contribute directly to climate change, through the greenhouse gas of nitrous oxide, and to air pollution of ammonia.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the world’s leading organization for monitoring our future food supply, called for “transformative changes in our food system” this year.
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The most prominent alternative to industrialized intensive agriculture in developed countries is organic farming. The organic or organic label is known in many supermarkets, but accounts for only 2% of food sales in the UK and around 5.5% in the US.
Organic farmers must comply with strict rules regarding the cultivation of plants and livestock. These include the use of antibiotics, chemical fertilizers and pesticides only when animals are needed when they are almost completely eliminated in favor of natural alternatives such as manure and plant-based wood ash and pesticides, and soil management to provide habitat for wildlife.
Rob Percival, head of policy at the Soil Association, says organic farming can feed the world by encouraging consumption patterns that encourage those who can afford to eat less meat. “We need an urgent change in both production and consumption if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change, including changing our diet for less and better meat,” he says.
He added that organic farming is more productive than expected, “and when inorganic agriculture takes into account the environmental and other damage caused by high energy and chemical inputs, organic food is cheaper for society and better for the planet.” .
What Is Agriculture And Its Importance?
For many farmers, it may be time to invest and meet organic standards, but there are ways to move towards more sustainable agriculture without organic certification.
Agroecology is the name given to a variety of agricultural techniques that aim to reduce the impact of agriculture on the environment. It includes organic farming, but is informal and does not require certification or inspection.
“It’s about using natural systems,” says agriculture and food entrepreneur Vicki Hird Sustain. “An important element is to limit the use of artificial chemicals, such as fertilizers and pesticides. By looking carefully at the soil and other conditions, feeding the soil, taking into account the natural cycles of pests, natural predators and crop cycles. ”
He says agroecology can be accepted as an alternative to the destruction of industrialized agriculture. Farmers can sow crops like clover as cover, remove weeds and return organic matter to the soil, and crop rotation, including nitrogen-fixing vegetables such as legumes. This requires special attention to the land and crops, and not to the usual agricultural practice of planting the most profitable crops possible.
Water In Agriculture
“Diversity is key,” Hird says. “Owning these huge monocultures is not naturally manageable and can damage biodiversity.”
It may also be beneficial to distinguish between traditional crops common in intensive agriculture, such as older varieties of fruits and vegetables, and a wider variety of grains than the present-day wheat varieties. These crops have advantages, including. natural resistance to certain diseases, pests or conditions.
“You can get lower yields [with these methods],” Hird admits, “but you’ll get higher levels of nutrients in the food you produce.”
Some farmers go further and adopt concepts such as permaculture and biodynamics. The principle of permaculture involves understanding the relationships between plants and using them in combination, reusing any waste, often as fertilizer.
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Biodynamics takes a different approach, following Rudolf Steiner and incorporating a spiritual aspect, for example, in some cases adapting planting and harvesting to the lunar calendars.
Significantly degraded peatlands around the world can also be managed ecologically through malaria cultivation. To do this, re-soak the dry peatlands and look for alternative plants that grow well there, including forests and medicinal plants, such as sphagnum moss, and allow animals to graze.
Urban agriculture can efficiently provide food — or at least some fresh produce — to dense populations without the emission of greenhouse gases and loss of nutrients associated with long-distance transportation. Already, urban agriculture produces about a fifth of the world’s food.
Today, there are more than 3,000 urban farming systems in London. They refer to the “orchards” and dairies of Victorian times, when there were small vegetable farms in or around cities and cows in urban green areas to get fresh milk.
Origins Of Agriculture
Cows in Hyde Park were known to Londoners for pouring fresh milk until World War I; in the near future, look for hipsters drinking cocktails from Shoreditch’s underground farms.
No. There are more than 570 million farms worldwide; More than 90% are run by an individual or family and are mostly based on family work. They produce about 80% of the world’s food.
Ronald Vargas, an FAO soil and land specialist, says small farmers will be key to the transformation. Many small farmers are poor and insecure, but the FAO believes that investing in the production of small farms is “the most urgent, safest and most promising way to tackle hunger and malnutrition by reducing the environmental impact of agriculture.”
There is no shortage of innovation and technology to help improve productivity and yields – on industrial and small farms. Precise data on GPS, drones, and topography, soil, and other aspects of agricultural land, so farmers can focus on specific areas of fertilizer, pesticide, and water instead of spraying a blanket.
Can We Ditch Intensive Farming
For example, a global agricultural business that produces Olam, cocoa, coffee, sugar, cotton and other crops uses real-time monitoring to accurately assess the amount of fertilizer in its plantations and avoid the need to use preventive pesticides. Its Australian almond trees are equipped with sensors that monitor how much water each tree needs and when.
For family farmers in developing countries, mobile phones are revolutionizing everything possible. Tools available to farmers in remote areas, such as weather forecasts, market prices, performance information and practical advice. GPS also allows you to track products after you leave the farm.
Drones and robots look like the future, but they are already in use, targeting pesticides and looking for damaged or diseased crops before infecting others in the area.
In primary places, vertical farming begins. This refers to the practice of cultivating crops, usually vegetables, in shallow containers, in layers that can reach any available height. In addition to saving space, it allows more efficient use of water and energy, as water can be pumped upwards and discharged through gravity.
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Some systems use hydroponics, where plants are immersed in water containing mineral solutions instead of soil. Temperatures can be carefully controlled, water can be reused and nutrients can be recycled. Software systems can control delivery mechanisms and control how plants are located.
Our new ability to control light, temperature, air and other environmental factors opens up new perspectives for agriculture. Growing underground was reserved for mushrooms and crop niches like rhubarb that grows in large warehouses.
If LEDs can take the place of sunlight, larger varieties of plants can grow under these conditions, so not only roofs, but also basements and underground spaces, from depleted mines to old railroads, can be profitable places to summarize. term crop food.
Dependence on fertilizers and intensive farming techniques did not arise overnight, but took several decades. Along the way, these methods revolutionized agriculture and enabled tremendous demographic and economic growth. We now have a great deal of scientific evidence that uncontrolled climate change, the extinction of species essential to human life, the pollution of our water and air and the risk of death to our soils are following the same path.
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