If you were to look at the forecasts and predictions on paper, the fact we’re faced with a changing climate and over nine billion people to feed by 2050 could be seen as bleak. Uncertainty on how to continue our current and the rising competition for food are the two major obstacles that we need to overcome. That is why talks on how to establish more sustainable agriculture and cement the future of food security are more important than ever.
Sustainable agriculture has been a hot topic for a number of years now and we’ve done our best to have our finger on the pulse. So, to keep you in the loop and up to date, here are some of the things we have learned about the future, things we need to do.
Short-term agriculture emphasis seems to be on growing climate-smart crops, which makes sense. However, within the next couple of a couple of decades, the focus will be on switching crops. Commercial crops aren’t sustainable and so alternatives will need to come into play. On a grand scale, crops like coffee, corn, and maize will be replaced due to the changes in climate, and we will see smaller farmers use this opportunity to assist and grow.
With climate change posing the biggest threat to the agriculture industry, a move to adapted crops is going to be necessary; crops that are more resilient to the future. However, in order for any breakthroughs in research to be successful, annual investment needs to be tenfold. $4bn a year is not enough to see the change we need in the time we have.
The sharp growth in population has had a huge affect on fish levels; especially given such a huge percentage of people rely on fish as their only source of protein. Luckily, there have been numerous breakthroughs in this area. For one, the methods of farming wild Alaskan salmon have proved to be far more sustainable than any other form of animal farming. Secondly, the Global Salmon Initiative has seen the fifteen biggest fish farming companies register their commitment to the UN’s sustainable development goals.
The issue of successful farming has long been a challenge for African countries who have to battle some of the hardest conditions in agriculture. That’s not to say it isn’t trying. In Mozambique, you have Jatropha crops offering a natural oil while, in Niger, farmers have successfully used their native Faidherbia trees to manage natural re-growth of crops over the past decade. These trees have fixed the nitrogen levels in the soil, protected fields from the wind and water erosion, and seen the falling leaves work as organic matter. As a result, yields of maize have doubled.
Small Farms Are Vital
In order for domestic food security to be realized, small-scale and local farmers are going to have a hugely important role to play; one that has fallen to the wayside thanks to complacency over the past two decades.This is especially true in the UK where yields of wheat have not increased in fifteen years. To counter this and realize the importance of local farming, there needs to be coordination between farmers, government, banks, and businesses to allow small farms to scale up their production in the agriculture game.
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