What we need in 21st century agriculture is a new revolution in agricultural technology. New intensification technologies are needed in areas with land or water shortages, or which have particular soil or climate problems. These new technologies must be affordable by, and geared to, the needs of the poor and undernourished. Promising technologies have emerged that combine increased production with improved environmental protection such as no-till or conservation agriculture, higher nutrient use efficiency, and lower-input approaches for integrated pest and/or nutrient management and organic agriculture.
Global agricultural production can grow in line with demand, provided the necessary national and international policies to promote agriculture are in place. There is now a widely recognised need to significantly increase investment in agriculture, in order to generate environmentally sustainable productivity increases and expand production, while at the same time enhancing agriculture’s contribution to economic growth and poverty alleviation. Investing in agriculture and improving farmers’ resilience remain key to providing sustained access to food for all — and to reducing vulnerability to price volatility and natural disasters brought about by climate change. Governments must ensure that a transparent and predictable regulatory environment is in place, one that promotes private investment and increases farm productivity. We must reduce food waste in developed countries through education and the development and implementation of appropriate policies, and reduce food losses in developing countries by boosting investment in the entire value chain, especially post-harvest processing. More sustainable management of our natural resources is critical to the food security of many of the world’s most poor.
Overall, investment in agriculture needs to increase substantially, focusing on innovation, research and effective knowledge transfer to improve agriculture’s role as an engine of growth and poverty reduction so that it can function as a longer-term pillar for global food and nutrition security.
Luc M Maene, 16 bis, rue Jeanne d’Arc, 78100 St. Germain-en-Laye, France.
16 pages, 3 figures, 1 table, 22 references.