Monday, 31 October 2011

The Story of Agriculture and the Green Economy

Agriculture coalition Farming First have created a new animated video on "The Story of Agriculture and the Green Economy", which aims to share knowledge on the green economy and the role agriculture has to play in ensuring its success.

The video communicates a key message – that the future of our world depends on addressing global challenges now. A transition to a green economy is already underway but the challenge is to build on this momentum. Currently, there is no international consensus on the problem of global food security or on possible solutions for how to nourish a population of nine billion people by 2050.

Farming First argue in the video that that we need to create sustainable livelihoods, feed a growing population and safeguard the environment, and agriculture has a large role to play in making this happen. Agriculture currently accounts for 37% of employment globally, 34% of land use, 70% of water use and up to 30% of greenhouse gases.

Agriculture can be a potent driver for poverty reduction. The World Bank estimates that GDP growth from agriculture generates at least twice as much poverty reduction than any other sector. Currently, 65 percent of people in developing countries are involved in agriculture. 1.3 billion of them are small farmers, with limited access to inputs, infrastructure and markets. In countries where agriculture represents one of the primary livelihoods, concerted efforts to improve productivity through sustainable practices could change the lives of millions.

Improving the footprint of agriculture while increasing production needs a concerted effort in two areas: first, closing the uptake gap of existing best practices and technologies by focusing on knowledge sharing and creating supportive extension services networks; and second, investing in innovation and research to provide the solutions for tomorrow and ensure agricultural policies are science-based.

Agriculture is a knowledge-intensive sector. Farmers are key to the green economy, and as such they need to have access to training, extension services, and sharing of traditional knowledge that can encourage the production of abundant and nutritious crops and mixed diets. Knowledge helps farmers adopt practices that maximize the efficiency of the inputs they use and help protect the natural resources they depend on. Training programmes should specifically involve women farmers in developing countries as essential ‘gatekeepers’ for household nutrition and welfare.

Farming First believe that research should be prioritized in the following areas:
  1. Conduct agronomic research related to water availability, soil fertility and post-harvest losses, as well as climate change challenges
  2. Conduct research into crop varieties needed by the poorest and most vulnerable regions
  3. Promote farmer-centred research in accordance with their needs
  4. Explore alternative and efficient uses for agriculture products and by-products along the value chain
  5. Support research on the nutritional quality of foods
They are calling for -
  • a reversal of the decline in government spending and foreign aid to agriculture that has been happening since the 1980’s
  • investment in agricultural research and science-based policies that give farmers a variety of innovative solutions
  • acknowledgement of agriculture’s ability to stimulate employment and the economy

Farming First is a coalition of organisations that articulates, endorses and promotes practical and actionable programmes and activities to further sustainable agricultural development worldwide. For more information, visit

Source: Farming First.

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