Half of the world’s population is without delay engaged in agriculture, and nearly forty per cent of land is devoted to agriculture and cattle. Food manufacturing sustains us all, but it also comes at a price: water resources are being depleted and infected through meals production, and unhealthy diets are burdening our health care structures.
Despite the large challenges faced by the agriculture zone, food production also gives an excellent possibility to realize the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate settlement goals even as stemming environmental degradation and biodiversity losses. But we want to trade the manner we feed ourselves. And we need to do it quickly.
“By 2050, our planet will want to feed near 10 billion humans. It is crucial that we remodel our agricultural and food systems so that they paintings with and now not in opposition to nature. This is the simplest way to make sure humans everywhere have to get admission to to a wholesome and nutritious food plan,” says Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme.
In April 2018, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations at the side of other United Nations partners, which include the UN Environment, released a brand new initiative for tackling those troubles.
The Scaling Up Agroecology Initiative goals to show how different agroecological structures are crucial now not handiest to addressing poverty, hunger, and climate trade mitigation and edition, but additionally for immediately realizing 12 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in regions along with health, education, gender, water, energy and monetary growth.
Agroecology is the use of ecological and social principles and concepts in agricultural manufacturing structures. There isn’t any single definition. However, it implies sustainable, integrated land control and involves diversification of the production system, along with agroforestry. It’s intently connected to organic or low-external-enter farming. Other phrases consisting of regenerative agriculture or eco-agriculture are also used.
“Agroecology can be recognized in medical literature for the reason that Nineteen Twenties, and has discovered expression in own family farmers’ practices, in grassroots social movements for sustainability and the general public regulations of various countries around the arena,” says Emma Siliprandi, lead focal point for the Scaling up Agroecology Initiative on the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Back in 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organization did now not pay a lot of interest to agroecology. But things have modified extraordinarily considering that then, as governments and farmers across the world realize that throwing growing quantities of pesticides and fertilizers at crops is no longer sustainable, viable or, in a long time, worthwhile.
“Agroecology is set mainstreaming biodiversity in agriculture and bridging the distance between the manufacturers of food and customers,” says Emile Frison, the former Director-General of Bioversity International, a leading proponent of agroecology, and a contemporary member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food).
“It’s about moving away from monoculture and moving towards the agricultural range. It’s about taking the focal point off yields and placing extra emphasis on international fitness and environmental blessings as well as livelihood resilience and yr-round nurturing of the soil and a wider variety of conventional plants. It’s about farmers’ markets. It’s approximately being concerned for the declining pollinators we depend on for a maximum of the food we eat. It’s about placing back bushes and hedgerows to help birds and other kinds of the natural world,” he says.
Siliprandi says agroecology “is based totally on bottom-up and territorial methods, supporting to supply contextualized solutions to local troubles”.
“Agroecological improvements are based at the co-advent of understanding, combining technological know-how with the traditional, practical and local expertise of producers. By improving their autonomy and adaptive ability, agroecology empowers producers and communities as key dealers of change,” she adds.
Contrary to popular notion, it’s additionally approximately tackling starvation. With more than 800 million undernourished humans in the world—a determine this is growing, now not shrinking—and a chief international obesity disaster, agroecology can, and is, providing new solutions.
Take Andhra Pradesh in India. The state authorities are promoting agroecology on a big scale, and it’s working. More and more farmers are coming on board.
Shrinking biodiversity in agriculture, meals systems and diets
In the last 100 years, more than ninety per cent of crop sorts has disappeared from farmers’ fields. Half of the breeds of many domestic animals had been misplaced, and all the global’s 17 principal fishing grounds are actually being fished at or above their sustainable limits. Such trends have environmental, cultural and fitness influences.