Showing results for: Sustainable intensification
On July 16, 2020, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Foresight4Food co-hosted the first of a series of eDialogues on the future of small-scale farming. The first session gave an overview of the challenges smallholders face and opportunities for improvement in yields and standards of living. A video recording and written summary (PDF link) of the event are now available online.
This blog post, by Caroline Grunewald and Dan Blaustein-Rejto of the Breakthrough Institute (a US think tank), argues that the large scale of much American farming does not mean it is necessarily unsustainable - rather, when looking at the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions, land use and water use per unit of output, dramatic improvements have been seen since 1961.
This paper from the UK’s Institute of Development Studies analyses how the project N2Africa: Putting nitrogen fixation to work for smallholder farmers in Africa has contributed to development outcomes in Ghana and Ethiopia.
The US think tank Breakthrough Institute has created an interactive series of graphs to visualise how the environmental impact of farming in the United States has changed over time, covering land use, nitrogen loss, water, herbicides, soil erosion, greenhouse gas emissions and spending on research and development.
This briefing from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) notes that demand for five cereals in sub-Saharan Africa is set to almost triple by 2050. It argues that it is possible for the region to be self-sufficient in cereals by 2050 using only the current area of cereal farmland, but that this requires significantly higher fertiliser use. To keep greenhouse gas emissions to the minimum possible will require suitable crop varieties, careful nutrient management, optimum planting densities and protection of crops against weeds, pests and diseases.
This paper presents a study of wheat farmers in India. Low-cost data from small satellites helped to map the results of spreading fertiliser either by hand or with a new spreader device that allowed more even application of fertiliser.
The book Food for All in Africa: Sustainable Intensification for African Farmers argues that the way forward for African agriculture is to produce greater yields with fewer inputs such as fertilisers and pesticides.
This report from the US-based Breakthrough Institute suggests that increasing the productivity of grazing systems, particularly in lower-income countries, can help to shrink the area of land used as pasture.
This paper, written by researchers on the University of Oxford’s LEAP project and co-authored by the FCRN’s Tara Garnett, explores what drives the intensification of dairy farming, and the consequences for the environment, animal welfare, socio-economic wellbeing and human health. The paper also considers three potential approaches to addressing these consequences: sustainable intensification, multifunctionality, and agroecology.
This paper reviews studies where changes in both productivity and species richness have been tracked at the same location, following changes in the intensity of land use. On average, intensifying land use leads to a 20% gain in output and a 9% decrease in species richness, but there is considerable variation between different contexts.
In this research on the Brazilian Amazon, FCRN member Erasmus zu Ermgassen of UCLouvain finds that forest conservation and agricultural growth are not mutually exclusive, and sheds new light on the land sparing/sharing debate. The authors argue that enforcement of Brazil's forest laws is key to encouraging the efficient use of land and the sustainable development of the agricultural sector.
This book, edited by Rachid Serraj and Prabhu Pingali, explores the threats and opportunities that global agricultural and food systems are likely to face between now and 2050. Chapter topics include global drivers and megatrends, urbanisation, technological innovation and intensification of agriculture.
The World Resources Institute has published a new report outlining solutions for feeding 10 billion people without increasing emissions, fueling deforestation or exacerbating poverty.
The Dutch government-funded healthy eating agency Voedingscentrum has launched a new campaign encouraging men who eat a lot of meat to reduce their consumption. FCRN member Corné van Dooren says that men, on average, could eat 400g less meat per week to meet guidelines, while women could eat 100g less.
This book, edited by David Barling and Jessica Fanzo, explores challenges related to protecting environmental resources while also meeting human nutritional requirements.
The upcoming book In Defence of Farmers: The Future of Agriculture in the Shadow of Corporate Power, edited by Jane W. Gibson and Sara E. Alexander, uses case studies of farmers to explore the tensions between conflicting views of the role of industrial agriculture.
Israeli startup Taranis has raised $20 million in funding for its aerial imaging technology, which uses multispectral images from satellites, planes and drones to scan fields. Artificial intelligence then identifies threats such as insects, crop disease, weeds and nutrient deficiencies. The company claims its technology can increase crop yields by up to 7.5%.