Agriculture is the world’s largest industry, employing more than 1 billion people.
Agriculture sector generate more than $1 trillion of food annually.
It growth, although commendable, is placing increasing stress on the earth’s resources. Agriculture both contributes to and impacted by environmental stress.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) and McKinsey & Company estimate that up to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to agriculture, counting all related impacts, including deforestation.
Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of worldwide water withdrawals.
In recent decades, poor agricultural practices have been a factor in the depletion of soil fertility, species diversity and water availability and quality.
Extensive environmental changes are affecting agriculture in many ways which mean that farmers must adapt to changing rainfall patterns and fluctuations in temperature that would cause yields reduced by more than 20% in many areas, with poor countries and poor farmers facing particularly severe outcomes
Today, over 900 million people still suffer from hunger. Poor populations worldwide, especially in rural areas, are among those most vulnerable to the food, climate, financial, economic, social and energy crises and threats the world faces today.
Even if we do increase agricultural output by 60 percent, the world would still have 300 million people hungry in 2050 because, like the hundreds of millions today, they would still lack the means to access the food they need.
For them, food security is not an issue of insufficient production; it is an issue of inadequate access.
The only way to ensure their food security is by creating decent jobs, paying better wages, giving them access to productive assets and distributing income in a more equitable way.
Improving agricultural and food systems is essential for a world with healthier people and healthier ecosystems. Healthy and productive lives cannot be achieved unless “all people at all times have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” (FAO, 1996).
The growth in the agriculture sectors of low-income and highly agriculture-dependent economies is twice as effective as that of other sectors in reducing hunger and poverty (World Bank, 2008).
With the wide-scale adoption of better management practices, agricultural production can help preserve and restore critical habitats, protect watersheds and improve soil and water quality while meeting the needs of society.
Agricultural growth will act as an engine for the rural economy, creating employment and incomes and this outcome must come with improved policies, investment and governance.
- Rio+20 and beyond: together for a sustainable future
- Realizing a New Vision for Agriculture: A roadmap for stakeholders