With many countries now shifting towards more sustainable modes of agriculture, there are challenges in its adoption. These challenges are usually an outcome of the fact that sustainable farming methods require substantial investments, which may not be easily available in most developing countries.
This is because the profitability of conventional agriculture is usually so much higher. Sustainable farming methods are also complex and high-tech, and so require more labor and know-how than conventional farming.
Agriculture is responsible for a great deal of environmental damage, from deforestation, soil erosion and water pollution to the emission of harmful gases that contribute to global warming.
Of course, small-scale farming can be good for the environment, especially if it’s organic, but modern large-scale agriculture is not. For example, factory farming is responsible for a great deal of pollution and environmental damage, as well as the abuse of animals.
Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
For years, environmentalists have been criticizing the agricultural industry for its heavy use of pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers. These chemicals are not only harmful to the environment, but they also reduce the nutritional value of the produce they are used on.
But, for farmers, they provide an all-natural way to keep pests, weeds, and diseases from wreaking havoc on their crops. So, how can we foster sustainability and innovation in agriculture?
When you think about it, sustainable agriculture is a contradiction in terms. When it comes to farming, there is no such thing as a “green revolution.” There is only a choice between the quick and dirty version and the slow and clean version.
The fast and dirty version is the one we know and practice now: quickly convert all available land to agricultural use, plant monocultures, use synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, and dispose of waste in ways that cause harm. That’s how we’re feeding the world now—factory farming, unsustainable farming.
Sustainable agriculture practices
According to the World Bank, food production accounts for more than two-thirds of global freshwater consumption, and 70% of the world’s land surface is used for food production.
Add to that the fact that farming practices have led to the conversion of once-compatible lands and the degradation of precious soils, and it’s clear why farming practices are a major contributor to the ongoing worldwide environmental crisis.
The solution is to adopt sustainable agriculture practices, which use tools like crop rotation, organic fertilizers, and water harvesting to reduce the effects of erosion, improve soil quality and minimize the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Farmers have never had more challenges, with the ongoing availability of new tools and sustainable agriculture practices. As a result, farmers are always looking for ways to be more productive, more efficient, and more sustainable.
Yet, some of the biggest challenges they face are not in the field but in the marketplace. Agricultural producers are well aware that consumers are demanding food that is both healthy and safe—and the way food is produced is an important part of that.
Food Systems and Security
Food systems are becoming increasingly complex and interdependent. This has given rise to more complex challenges in producing and distributing food in a secure and sustainable manner.
The increasing intensity of global trade, the increasing use of infrastructure and technology, and the increasing interdependence of markets, people, institutions and the environment are creating new challenges.
These challenges include changes in the availability of natural resources and climate change, as well as the emergence of new risks associated with food safety and the need for better regulation.
The world population is increasing, which in turn increases the demand for food. Modern agriculture is the world’s largest user of available freshwater—a precious resource that is under increasing pressure from competing demands and needs.
Agriculture is also responsible for a significant proportion of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions—a major contributor to climate changes and rising global temperatures.
Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems
Renewable Agriculture and Food System (RAFS) is a sustainable practice. It provides food and energy through agriculture and food networks. The energy and food produced from these systems will be sufficient to meet the needs of the current and future generations.
The key to RAFS is to understand that our current energy and agricultural systems are unsustainable. The main problems with our current systems are that they are dependent on non-renewable resources, they are not energy efficient, they are not economically viable and they are not environmentally friendly.
It’s Time to Plant the Seeds of Growth in Sustainable Agriculture
To ensure that our food supply remains plentiful, affordable, and nutritious in the long run, there will need to be a shift in the way we grow crops. As we have seen in past posts, the global population is expected to rise from 7.2 billion in 2011 to 9.6 billion by the year 2040.
This means that there are going to be more mouths to feed, and more people eating more meat. As we continue to drive up demand for food, we will need to consider how our food choices are impacting the environment.
The health of our environment is inextricably linked to the health of our food supply. Since we live on a planet with finite resources, it’s vital for the planet to be able to sustainably support human life.
The same is true for agriculture: for our farms to be sustainable, they must be able to sustainably produce food for generations to come. This means we need to be good stewards over the land and do our part to protect the environment, which will ensure a high-quality food supply for everyone.
There is a wide range of challenges facing agriculture in adopting sustainable practices and it is at the heart of all our environmental concerns. Agriculture is the largest user of land, water, energy and chemicals on the planet. It is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions from rice cultivation and methane from livestock. At the same time it is also a vital part of our cultural heritage and sustains the seventh billion people alive today. A successful transition to sustainable agriculture must address all these issues.