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Agriculture and the Future

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Feeding a growing population. 'Peak farmland' is here, crop area to diminish -study. * Rising yields, slowing population translate to farmland peak * Food crop area could shrink by 10 pct in half a century * Cropland 2.5 times France could return to nature by 2060 By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent.

'Peak farmland' is here, crop area to diminish -study

13 Resolutions to Change the Food System in 2013. As we start 2013, many people will be thinking about plans and promises to improve their diets and health.

13 Resolutions to Change the Food System in 2013

We think a broader collection of farmers, policy-makers, and eaters need new, bigger resolutions for fixing the food system -- real changes with long-term impacts in fields, boardrooms, and on plates all over the world. These are resolutions that the world can't afford to break with nearly one billion still hungry and more than one billion suffering from the effects of being overweight and obese. A Less Thirsty Future Through Engineered Crops? An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal sees a bright future for crops engineered for drought tolerance, water use efficiency, and other useful traits.

A Less Thirsty Future Through Engineered Crops?

The author, R. Adding Rice Farmers to the Rio+20 Agenda. COLOMBO, May 16, 2012 (IPS) - The year 2011 was one of extremes for the small Sri Lankan village of Verugal. Lying on the island’s Northeastern coast, Verugal began the year with incessant rainfall. Between January and February of 2011, the East coast received a year’s worth of rain, which destroyed over 7,000 hectares of rice crops in Verugal and about 17 percent of the country’s annual rice harvest. Biofuels. Can the world feed 7 billion people? Can the World Save Lives and Combat Climate Change? Environmental, humanitarian and economic challenges do not exist in isolation, but that is how the world most often deals with them.

Can the World Save Lives and Combat Climate Change?

To take just one example: one of the key challenges facing cities around the globe in the 21st century is flooding. Cut that steak in half to keep the climate in check. Photo by Jack Lyons.

Cut that steak in half to keep the climate in check

Eric Davidson has no grand plan to turn you into a vegetarian. But in order for us to avoid catastrophic climate change, this senior scientist and executive director at Woods Hole Research Center says people in developed nations may need to eat half as much meat. Yep — you heard that right. This isn’t about the way animals are treated, nor is it about reducing heart disease. Designing food systems to protect nature and get rid of hunger. Hunger and malnutrition is manmade.

Designing food systems to protect nature and get rid of hunger

It is in the design of the industrial chemical model of agriculture. And just as hunger has been created by design, producing healthy and nutritious food for all can be designed through food democracy. Environment and Food Needs Can be Met. Agriculture has been a major driver of human-caused climate change, responsible for up to 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Environment and Food Needs Can be Met

At the same time, it’s also extremely vulnerable to the effects of rising temperatures. But a new report says agricultural innovations can result in climate-friendly food production. Listen to De Capua report on climate-friendly agriculture Droughts, floods, severe storms and unpredictable weather patterns have all been blamed on climate change. Food Security: Farm Smarter Not to Plow More Land. A major Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) says the key to food security is to farm smarter, not to plow more land.

Food Security: Farm Smarter Not to Plow More Land

The strains on agriculture are growing as the global population rises and emerging economies demand more types of food. Hunger and Food Security. New Green Revolution for Africa? No sustainable development without hunger eradication. Our food systems need to become more sustainable. 30 May 2012, Rome - Sustainable development cannot be realized unless hunger and malnutrition are eradicated, FAO said in a policy document prepared for the Rio+20 Summit to be held in June in Rio de Janeiro.

No sustainable development without hunger eradication

"We cannot call development sustainable while this situation persists, while nearly one out of every seven men, women and children are left behind, victims of undernourishment," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva. "The quest for food security can be the common thread that links the different challenges we face and helps build a sustainable future. Rio+20 should prioritise sustainable agriculture, says Caroline Spelman. Sustainable agriculture should be the UK's key objective for Rio+20, according to the UK secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs, Caroline Spelman, who will be attending next month's UN conference on sustainable development with the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

Rio+20 should prioritise sustainable agriculture, says Caroline Spelman

Sustainable Small-holder Agriculture. The FAO must do more to promote food as a basic human right. Should the UN's leading food security agency prioritise helping countries boost their agricultural production with subsidised chemical fertiliser, or promote ecological farming practices? Should it help countries protect themselves against import surges, or open them to the global marketplace? Should it work exclusively with national ministries of agriculture, or demand inter-ministerial and civil society participation? Towards a strategic response to Hunger. World agriculture: towards 2015/2030. All rights reserved. Reproduction and dissemination of material in this information product for educational or other non-commercial purposes are authorized without any prior written permission from the copyright holders provided the source is fully acknowledged.

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