Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Sustainable intensification

26 November 2014

This paper discusses paths towards a more resilient agriculture and the rationale for doing so. It emphasises the need for interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaborations in this field, moving towards “a diversity of solutions operating across scales.” The authors also critically discuss various production focused routes to food security.

25 September 2014

In this open letter a large number of civil society organisations present a critique of the use of ‘Climate Smart Agriculture’, a concept that is gaining increasing attention among governments, NGOs, academics, corporations and in international policy. They state that they have concerns around the aims of the 'Global Alliance on Climate Smart Agriculture' to establish policies to enable farming to deal with the impacts of climate change.

15 September 2014

This paper argues that a focus on increasing production in line with dominant projections of increased demand, through intensification of current industrial agricultural practices, will cause environmental damage and increase food insecurity.

5 September 2014

This new paper published in Nature Climate Change, focuses on food demand-side climate change mitigation options. It suggests that if current trends continue, food production alone will reach (if not exceed) the global targets for total greenhouse gas emissions in 2050. Diet preferences are shifting globally toward meat-heavy western foods with a high GHG-impact and this, combined with a growing global population, imply that even if we manage to increase agricultural yields (through for example sustainable intensification), this will not be enough to meet projected food demands.

9 July 2014

The Guardian recently hosted a live chat where a panel of experts joined readers online to discuss the future of sustainable agriculture in the face of changing weather driven by climate change and increasing competition for food. This article discusses 10 points that were discussed by participats.

Read the full article here.

9 July 2014

Collaborating with Asda, Sainsbury’s, Nestlé, AB Agri, Yara, BASF, BOCM Pauls, Volac and the NFU and CLA, the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainable Leadership has produced a report entitled The Best Use of UK Agricultural Land which considers how to best manage the 35% difference they projected between the supply and demand of available land.

9 July 2014

This report builds on the dialogue built during a workshop held by RISE in 2014 regarding the measurement of farming environmental performance so as to further refine the definitions of sustainable intensification and the subsequent implications that such definitions pose on policy making to progress it. In doing so, the report explores three different case studies: The first case study focuses on soil performance and resilience. It shows how achieving sustainable intensification is highly dependent on having sound measurement of the underlying conditions.

9 July 2014

This working paper, discussing indicators for sustainable agriculture, is published as Part 6 of a major report by WRI – Creating a Sustainable Food Future.

9 July 2014

This paper critiques the concept of sustainable intensification as follows: “Though often lauded by scientists and policy makers alike as a panacea to the mass environmental degradation that accompanies typical food production processes, the authors find that ‘sustainable intensification’ is actually highly unsustainable as it fails to consider the long run social, economic and ecological consequences of intensified production. Thus the authors aim to redefine the scope of the discourse, moving beyond simple calls for increased production capacities to instead enmesh food security within a more holistic approach to development which requires better governance, more empowerment, and greater access and fairer distribution of food within more resilient food systems. Ultimately, sustainable intensification is rendered worthless if those facing dire food insecurity remain unable to access the yields of increasing production.“ 

26 March 2014

This paper reviews one aspect of the food sustainability challenge: the goal of producing more food – a goal that is unthinkingly accepted by some and vigorously contested by  others. The paper argues that increased food production is necessary but also emphasises that this alone, as a response to the challenge, is not sufficient.

27 February 2014

A recent study from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research finds that the UK is failing to make the most of its abundant biomass potential. The researchers found that almost half, up to 44%, of the UK's energy could be produced within the country by using biomass sources, including household waste, agricultural residues and home-grown biofuels. The UK currently produces about half of the food it consumes, and is ~60% ‘self-sufficient’. Although complete food self-sufficiency is not the current goal, the researchers stress that improved food system adaptive capacity is important if the UK is to cope with future stresses in the food system.

14 February 2014

Abstract

There is an urgent need to increase agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa in a sustainable and economically-viable manner. Transforming risk-averse smallholders into business-oriented producers that invest in producing surplus food for sale provides a formidable challenge, both from a technological and socio-political perspective.

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