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Creating a Sustainable Food Future by 2050

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IOPS | Agricultural Development Economics Division | Economic and Social Development Department


How to Feed the World 2050 | High-Level Expert Forum
Global agriculture towards 2050


The Challenge


Agriculture in the 21st century faces multiple challenges: it has to produce more food and fibre to feed a growing population with a smaller rural labour force, more feedstocks for a potentially huge bioenergy market, contribute to overall development in the many agriculture-dependent developing countries, adopt more efficient and sustainable production methods and adapt to climate change.


Food Demand and Production


World population is expected to grow. Nearly all of this growth is forecast to take place in the developing countries. Among the latter group, sub-Saharan Africa's population would grow the fastest and East and Southeast Asia's the slowest. Urbanization is foreseen to continue at an accelerating pace with urban areas to account for 70 percent of world population in 2050 and rural population, after peaking sometime in the next decade, actually declining.


At the same time, per capita incomes in 2050 are projected to be a multiple of today's levels. There is a consensus among analysts that recent trends whereby the economies of developing countries have been growing significantly faster that the developed ones is likely to continue in the future. Relative inequality in per capita incomes would be reduced considerably by 2050. However, absolute differences would remain pronounced and could even increase further, given the current huge gaps in absolute per capita incomes. Moreover, inter-country and inter-regional inequalities within the present-day developing world would tend to become more pronounced.


The projected global economic growth would lead to a significant reduction or even near elimination of absolute "economic" poverty in the developing countries. Nevertheless, even in 2050 the world will still be far from solving the problem of economic deprivation and malnutrition of significant parts of the population. On less stringent criteria, deprivation and undernutrition will remain widespread, though significantly less than today.


These trends mean that market demand for food would continue to grow. Demand for cereals, or both food and animal feed uses is projected to reach some 3 billion tonnes by 2050. The advent of biofuel has the potential to change some of the projected trends and cause world demand to be higher, depending mainly on energy prices and government policies. The demand for other food products that are more responsive to higher incomes in the developing countries (such as livestock and dairy products, vegetable oils) will grow much faster than that for cereals.


The projections show that feeding a world population of 10 billion people in 2050 would require raising overall food production by some 75 percent. Production in the developing countries would need to almost double. This implies significant increases in the production of several key commodities. Annual cereal production, for instance, would have to grow by almost one billion tonnes, meat production by over 200 million tonnes. Feeding the world population adequately would also mean producing the kinds of foods that are lacking to ensure nutrition security.


International Trade


Trade in agricultural commodities is also expected to expand considerably. For example, net cereal imports into the developing countries would increase almost three-fold by then. Cereals self-sufficiency would continue to be low in the region most dependent on food imports (i.e. in the Near East/North Africa). At the other extreme, Latin America and Caribbean, now a net cereals deficit area, may become fully self-sufficient reflecting the surplus production potential of major countries in the region. The other regions may see some decline in self-sufficiency, but they will remain in the 80 to 95 percent range. Concerning other major commodities, developing countries' net exports of oilseeds and vegetable oils would more than triple by 2050 to some 25 million tonnes (in oil equivalent) and net exports of sugar double to some 20 million tonnes by 2050. Again, the advent of biofuels has the potential of altering these prospects as all three commodity groups are used for feedstocks in biofuel production.


Natural Resources


Ninety percent of the growth in crop production globally (80 percent in developing countries) is expected to come from higher yields and increased cropping intensity, with the remainder coming from land expansion. Almost all of the land expansion in developing countries would take place in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. 


Land equipped for irrigation would expand by some 35 million ha, while harvested irrigated land would expand by 20 percent. All of this increase would be in the developing countries. Due to a slowly improving efficiency in water use and a decline in the area under rice (which is relatively intensive in water use), water withdrawals for irrigation would grow at a slower pace but still increase by 2050. The pressure on renewable water resources from irrigation would remain severe and could even increase slightly in several countries in the Near East/North Africa and South Asia. 


Crop yields would continue to grow but at a slower rate than in the past. This process of decelerating growth has already been under way for some time. On average, annual crop yield growth rate over the projection period would be about half of its historical growth rate.


Are the projected Increases in Land, Water use and Yields feasible?


The Global Agro-Ecological Zone study shows that there are still ample land resources with potential for crop production available, but this result needs to be heavily qualified. Much of the suitable land not yet in use is concentrated in a few countries in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, but many countries with growing rural populations in these regions are extremely land-scarce, and much of the potential land is suitable for growing only a few crops that are not necessarily those for which there is the highest demand. Also much of the land not yet in use suffers from constraints (chemical, physical, endemic diseases, lack of infrastructure, etc.) that cannot easily be overcome or that it is not economically viable to do so. Part of the land is forested, protected or subject to expanding urban settlements. Overall, however, it is fair to say that although there is a number of countries (in particular in the Near East/North Africa and South Asia) that have reached or are about to reach the limits of land available, on a global scale there are still sufficient land resources to feed the world population for the foreseeable future, provided that the investments required to develop these resources are made and the neglect of recent decades in the agricultural research and development effort is reversed. 


The availability of fresh water resources shows a similar picture as land availability, i.e. globally more than sufficient but very unevenly distributed, with an increasing number of countries or regions within countries reaching alarming levels of water scarcity. This is often the case in the same countries in the Near East/North Africa and South Asia that have no land resources left. A mitigating factor could be the fact that there are still ample opportunities to increase water use efficiency (e.g. through providing the right incentives to use less water). The potential to raise crop yields even with the existing technologies seems considerable. Provided the appropriate socio-economic incentives are in place, there are still ample 'bridgeable' gaps in yield (i.e. the difference between agro-ecologically attainable and actual yields) that could be exploited. Fears that yields (e.g. for rice) are reaching a plateau do not seem warranted (except in a few very special instances).


Access to Food 


Current projections suggest that average daily energy availability could reach 3000 kcal per person by 2050 (2900 kcal in the developing countries). However, the same projections suggest that production increases alone would not be sufficient to ensure food security for everyone. Unless governments make sure access to food by the needy and vulnerable is significantly improved, and while the prevalence of chronic undernourishment in developing countries could fall to 5 percent in 2050, this would still mean that some 400 million persons would be undernourished in 2050. Of the three developing regions with the highest numbers of undernourished people currently, declines would be most pronounced in Asia (both East and South Asia), but less so in sub-Saharan Africa. On these prospects, the World Food Summit target of halving the numbers of hungry people may not be reached until well into the 2040s. These calculations underline the importance of putting in place effective poverty reduction strategies, safety nets and rural development programmes.


Dietary Transition and Health 


While progress towards raising average food consumption is a welcome development, such rises are not always an unmixed blessing: the diet transitions experienced by many countries imply changes towards energy-dense diets high in fat, particularly saturated fat, sugar and salt and low in micronutrients, dietary fiber and important bioactive phytochemicals. In combination with lifestyle changes, largely associated with rapid urbanization, such transitions, while beneficent in many countries with still inadequate diets, are often accompanied by a corresponding increase in diet-related chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs). In many countries undergoing this transition, obesity-related NCDs appear when health problems related to undernutrition of significant parts of their populations are still widely prevalent. The two problems co-exist and present these countries with novel challenges and strains in their health systems that must be addressed in policies and programmes to increase consumers' awareness about nutrition, promote balanced and healthy diets and improve food welfare.


Hunger and Poverty Reduction as Economies Transform 


Experience of countries that have succeeded in reducing hunger and malnutrition shows that economic growth and poverty reduction policies as such do not automatically ensure success: the source of growth matters too. Cross-country analysis shows that GDP growth originating in agriculture is, on average, at least twice as effective in benefiting the poorest half of a country's population as growth generated in non-agricultural sectors. This is not surprising as 75 percent of the poor in developing countries live in rural areas and derive significant parts of their livelihoods from agriculture and related activities. For agriculture-dependent countries in particular, agricultural growth is key for overall growth and development and for poverty reduction. 


A vibrant agricultural sector has been the basis for a successful economic transformation in many of today's developed countries. It was the precursor to the industrial revolutions in Europe and the USA and more recently to those in China, Taiwan, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and other rapidly growing Asian economies. During these transformations, investment in agriculture created agricultural surpluses, kept real food prices low and helped stimulate overall economic growth. At the same time, overall economic development created new employment opportunities that helped absorb the rural labour surplus that emerged from the transformation of agriculture. Theoretically, the result is a transition from many, small subsistence producers to fewer and larger commercial farmers and a new equilibrium with fewer farmers, more non-farm employment and larger farm operations overall. 


The outlook to 2050 suggests that many developing countries are on the pathway to such transformation. Higher agricultural productivity and a growing saturation of  food demand will ultimately limit the overall income contribution potential of agriculture and circumscribe the number of livelihoods that can be sustained by the sector. At the same time, integration of primary production agriculture in the agro-industrial system will favour capital and knowledge intensive agriculture and larger holdings. This means that while some farmers will be able to expand their operations, others will be severely challenged in their efforts to compete in the sector and meet the stringent food quality and safety standards required by processors and retailers. Policy-makers can accompany this transition by providing incentive structures that allow farmers to adapt to the new conditions and remain in the sector and help others commercialize and grow. Timing, pacing and sequencing of the measures facilitating this transition remains a particular challenge for policy-makers in all countries. 


While the role of agriculture as a driver of overall growth would diminish over time along with its share in GDP, the experience of today's middle income countries suggests that its role in poverty and hunger reduction would continue to be significant. Agriculture's contribution to hunger reduction consists not just in producing food where needs are most pronounced, but also in creating employment, generating income and supporting rural livelihoods. Poverty reduction requires investments in a number of different areas. These include:


#1 Investments in sectors strongly linked to agricultural productivity growth, such as rural infrastructure (roads, ports, power, storage and irrigation systems)


#2 Investments in institutions and the broader enabling environment for farmers (research and extension services, land tenure systems, veterinary and food safety control systems, insurance and risk management)


#3 Non-agricultural investment to bring about positive impacts on human wellbeing, including targeted food safety nets, social programmes and cash transfers to the most needy. 


 


Discussion Points 


>> Should the focus of government intervention be primarily on increasing local food production, or should it lean more towards increasing access to food and stimulating rural development in general? 


>> What will happen to countries and regions that remain in food deficit in 2050 – how can their food security be assured? What are the risks and opportunities? 


>> To what extent will countries be able to tackle water problems by encouraging improved efficiency in water use, or by developing innovative systems for trading water rights? What policies are needed to ensure optimal water use? 


>> How can agricultural land, including land already under cultivation as well as land newly converted for agricultural production, be used more productively and sustainably? How can investment in new land to be converted into agricultural production be stimulated?


 




Moving Toward a Sustainable Food Future


The challenge of feeding 10 billion people sustainably by 2050 is much harder than people realize. These following menu items are not optional — the world must implement all of them to close the food, land and GHG mitigation gaps.


The good news is that all five courses can might close the gaps, while delivering co-benefits for farmers, society and human health. It will require a herculean effort and major changes to how we produce and consume food. So, let's get started and order everything on the menu!



How to Sustainably Feed 10 Billion People by 2050


There is a big shortfall between the amount of food we produce today and the amount needed to feed everyone in 2050. There will be nearly 10 billion people on Earth by 2050 — about 3 billion more mouths to feed than there were in 2010. As incomes rise, people will increasingly consume more resource-intensive, animal-based foods. At the same time, we urgently need to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agricultural production and stop conversion of remaining forests to agricultural land.


Feeding 10 billion people sustainably by 2050, then, requires closing three gaps:


>> A 56 percent food gap between crop calories produced in 2010 and those needed in 2050 under "business as usual" growth;


>> A 593 million-hectare land gap (an area nearly twice the size of India) between global agricultural land area in 2010 and expected agricultural expansion by 2050; and


>> An 11-gigaton GHG mitigation gap between expected agricultural emissions in 2050 and the target level needed to hold global warming below 2oC (3.6°F), the level necessary for preventing the worst climate impacts.



A Five-Course Menu of Solutions for a Sustainable Food Future


There is no silver bullet to close the food, land and GHG mitigation gaps. The WRI has identified 22 solutions that need to be simultaneously applied to close these gaps. The relative importance of each solution varies from country to country. The solutions are organized into a five-course menu:


Course#1 Reduce growth in demand for food and other agricultural products


Course#2 Increase food production without expanding agricultural land


Course#3 Protect and restore natural ecosystems


Course#4 Increase fish supply


Course#5 Reduce GHG emissions from agricultural production


 


Course #1
Reduce Growth In Demand for Food and Other Agricultural Products


#1
Reduce food loss and waste


Approximately one-quarter of food produced for human consumption goes uneaten. Loss and waste occurs all along the food chain, from field to fork. Reducing food loss and waste by 25 percent by 2050 would close the food gap by 12 percent, the land gap by 27 percent and the GHG mitigation gap by 15 percent. Actions to take include measuring food waste, setting reduction targets, improving food storage in developing countries and streamlining expiration labels.



#2
Shift to healthier, more sustainable diets


Consumption of ruminant meat (beef, lamb and goat) is projected to rise 88 percent between 2010 and 2050. Beef, the most commonly consumed ruminant meat, is resource-intensive to produce, requiring 20 times more land and emitting 20 times more GHGs per gram of edible protein than common plant proteins, such as beans, peas and lentils. Limiting ruminant meat consumption to 52 calories per person per day by 2050 — about 1.5 hamburgers per week — would reduce the GHG mitigation gap by half and nearly close the land gap. In North America this would require reducing current beef and lamb consumption by nearly half. Actions to take include improving the marketing of plant-based foods, improving meat substitutes and implementing policies that favor consumption of plant-based foods.



#3
Avoid competition from bioenergy for food crops and land


If bioenergy competes with food production by using food or energy crops or dedicated land, it widens the food, land and GHG mitigation gaps. Biomass is also an inefficient energy source: Using all the harvested biomass on Earth in the year 2000 — including crops, crop residues, grass eaten by livestock and wood — would only provide about 20 percent of global energy needs in 2050. Phasing out existing biofuel production on agricultural lands would reduce the food gap from 56 to 49 percent. Actions to take include eliminating biofuel subsidies and not treating bioenergy as "carbon-neutral" in renewable energy policies and GHG trading programs.



#4
Achieve replacement-level fertility rates


The food gap is mostly driven by population growth, of which half is expected to occur in Africa, and one third in Asia. Most of the world is close to achieving replacement-level fertility by 2050 (2.1 children per woman). Sub-Saharan Africa is the exception, with a current fertility rate above 5 children per woman and a projected rate of 3.2 in 2050. If sub-Saharan Africa achieved replacement-level fertility rates along with all other regions by 2050, it would close the land gap by one quarter and the GHG mitigation gap by 17 percent while reducing hunger. Actions to take include achieving the three forms of social progress that have led all others to voluntarily reduce fertility rates: increasing educational opportunities for girls, expanding access to reproductive health services, and reducing infant and child mortality so that parents do not need to have as many children to ensure survival of their desired number.



Course #2
Increase Food Production Without Expanding Agricultural Land


#5
Increase livestock and pasture productivity


Livestock production per hectare varies significantly from country to country and is lowest in the tropics. Given that demand for animal-based foods is projected to grow by 70 percent by 2050 and that pastureland accounts for two thirds of agricultural land use, boosting pasture productivity is an important solution. A 25 percent faster increase in the output of meat and milk per hectare of pasture between 2010 and 2050 could close the land gap by 20 percent and the GHG mitigation gap by 11 percent. Actions farmers can take include improving fertilization of pasture, feed quality and veterinary care; raising improved animal breeds; and employing rotational grazing. Governments can set productivity targets and support farmers with financial and technical assistance.



#6
Improve crop breeding


Future yield growth is essential to keep up with demand. Conventional breeding, the selection of best-performing crops based on genetic traits, accounted for around half of historical crop yield gains. New advances in molecular biology offer great promise for additional yield gains by making it cheaper and faster to map genetic codes of plants, test for desired DNA traits, purify crop strains, and turn genes on and off. Actions to take include significantly increasing public and private crop-breeding budgets, especially for "orphan crops" like millet and yam, which are regionally important, but not traded globally.



#7
Improve soil and water management


Degraded soils, especially in Africa's drylands, may affect one quarter of the world's cropland. Farmers can boost crop yields in degraded soils — particularly drylands and areas with low carbon — by improving soil and water management practices. For example, agroforestry, or incorporating trees on farms and pastures, can help regenerate degraded land and boost yields. Trial sites in Zambia integrating Faidherbia albida trees yielded 88–190 percent more maize than sites without trees. A 20 percent faster increase in crop yields between 2010 and 2050 — as a result of improvements in crop breeding and soil and water management — could close the land gap by 16 percent and the GHG mitigation gap by 7 percent. Actions to take include increasing aid agencies' support for rainwater harvesting, agroforestry and farmer-to-farmer education; and reforming tree-ownership laws that impede farmers' adoption of agroforestry. Agencies can also experiment with programs that help farmers rebuild soil health.



#8
Plant existing cropland more frequently


Planting and harvesting existing croplands more frequently, either by reducing fallow land or by increasing "double cropping" (planting two crops in a field in the same year), can boost food production without requiring new land. Increasing annual cropping intensity by 5 percent beyond the 2050 baseline of 87 percent would shrink the land gap by 14 percent and the GHG mitigation gap by 6 percent. Researchers should conduct more spatially explicit analyses to determine where cropping intensity increases are most feasible, factoring in water, emissions and other environmental constraints.


#9
Adapt to climate change


The 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report projected that without adaptation, global crop yields will likely decline by at least 5 percent by 2050, with steeper declines by 2100. For example, growing seasons in much of sub-Saharan Africa are projected to be more than 20 percent shorter by 2100. A 10 percent decline in crop yields would increase the land gap by 45 percent. Adaptation will require implementing other menu items, as well as breeding crops to cope with higher temperatures, establishing water conservation systems, and changing production systems where major climate changes will make it impossible to grow certain crops. 



Course #3
Protect and Restore Natural Ecosystems and Limit Agricultural Land-Shifting


#10
Link productivity gains with protection of natural ecosystems


While improving agricultural productivity can save forests and savannas globally, in some cases it can actually cause more land clearing locally. To avoid these results, productivity gains must be explicitly linked with efforts to protect natural ecosystems from conversion to agriculture. Governments, financiers and others can tie low interest credit to protection of forests, as Brazil has done, and ensure that infrastructure investments do not come at the expense of ecosystems.


Deforestation in South America is largely driven by agricultural commodities.


[LINK] https://www.globalforestwatch.org/


 


#11
Limit inevitable cropland expansion to lands with low environmental opportunity costs


When cropland expansion is inevitable — such as for local food production in Africa and for oil palm in Southeast Asia — governments and investors should support expansion onto land with low environmental opportunity costs. This includes lands with limited biodiversity or carbon storage potential, but high food production potential. For example, analysis that applies environmental, economic and legal filters in Indonesia can develop more accurate estimates of land suitable for oil palm expansion. Governments need tools and models to estimate yields and effects on biodiversity and climate change, and they should use these tools to guide land-use regulations, plan roads and manage public lands.



#12
Reforest agricultural lands with little intensification potential


In some cases, the most efficient use of land may be to restore abandoned or unproductive agricultural lands back into forests or other natural habitats. This can help offset the inevitable expansion of agriculture into other areas. This should be limited to low productivity agricultural land with limited improvement potential, such as steeply sloping pastures in Brazil's Atlantic Forest.



Before and After, Reforesting Brazil's Atlantic Forest


 


#13
Conserve and restore peatlands


Peatlands' conversion for agriculture requires drainage, which releases large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. The world's 26 million hectares of drained peatlands account for 2 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions. Restoring them to wetlands should be a high priority and would close the GHG mitigation gap by up to 7 percent. Actions to take include providing funds for peatland restoration, improving peatland mapping and establishing laws that prevent peatlands from being drained.



Course #4
Increase Fish Supply


#14
Improve wild fisheries management


One third of marine stocks were overfished in 2015, with another 60 percent fished at maximum sustainable levels.  Catches need to be reduced today to allow wild fisheries to recover enough just to maintain the 2010 fish-catch level in 2050. This would avoid the need to convert 5 million hectares of land to supply the equivalent amount of fish from aquaculture. Actions to take include implementing catch shares and community-based management systems, and removing perverse subsidies that support overfishing, estimated at $35 billion annually.



#15
Improve productivity and environmental performance of aquaculture


As wild fish catches decline, aquaculture production needs to more than double to meet a projected 58 percent increase in fish consumption between 2010 and 2050. This doubling requires improving aquaculture productivity and addressing fish farms' current environmental challenges, including conversion of wetlands, use of wild-caught fish in feeds, high freshwater demand and water pollution. Actions to take include selective breeding to improve growth rates of fish, improving feeds and disease control, adoption of water recirculation and other pollution controls, better spatial planning to guide new farms and expansion of marine-based fish farms.



Course #5
Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Agricultural Production


GHG emissions from agricultural production arise from livestock farming, application of nitrogen fertilizers, rice cultivation and energy use. They're projected to rise from 7 to 9 gigatons per year or more by 2050 (in addition to 6 gigatons per year or more from land-use change, not shown in the chart below). This course addresses each of these major emissions sources.



#16
Reduce enteric fermentation through new technologies


Ruminant livestock were responsible for around half of all agricultural production emissions in 2010. Of these emissions, the largest source is "enteric methane," or cow burps. Increasing productivity of ruminants also reduces methane emissions, mainly because more milk and meat is produced per kilogram of feed. In addition, new technologies can reduce enteric fermentation. For example, 3-nitrooxypropan (3-NOP), a chemical additive that inhibits microbial methane, was tested in New Zealand and cut methane emissions by 30 percent and may increase animal growth rates. Governments should expand public research into compounds like 3-NOP and require or incentivize adoption of the most promising.



#17
Reduce emissions through improved manure management


Emissions from "managed" manure, originating from animals raised in confined settings, represented around 9 percent of agricultural production emissions in 2010. Improving manure management by better separating liquids from solids, capturing methane, and other strategies can greatly reduce emissions. For example, using highly sophisticated systems to reduce virtually all forms of pollution from U.S. pig farms would only increase the price of pork by 2 percent while reducing GHGs and creating many health, water and pollution benefits. Measures governments can take include regulating farms, providing competitive funding for technology development, and establishing monitoring programs to detect and remediate leakages from digesters.


#18
Reduce emissions from manure left on pasture


Livestock feces and urine deposited in fields turns into nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas. This unmanaged manure accounted for 12 percent of agricultural production emissions in 2010. Emerging approaches involve applying chemicals that prevent nitrogen from turning into nitrous oxide, and growing grasses that prevent this process naturally. Governments can increase support for research into such chemical and biological nitrification inhibitors and incentivize adoption by farmers.


#19
Reduce emissions from fertilizers by increasing nitrogen use efficiency


Emissions from fertilizers accounted for around 19 percent of agricultural production emissions in 2010. Globally, crops absorb less than half the nitrogen applied as fertilizer, with the rest emitted to the atmosphere or lost as run off. Increasing nitrogen use efficiency, the percentage of applied nitrogen absorbed by crops, involves improving fertilizers and their management — or the composition of the fertilizers themselves — to increase the rate of nitrogen uptake, thus reducing the amount of fertilizer needed. Actions governments can take include shifting subsidies from fertilizers to support higher nitrogen use efficiency, implementing regulatory targets for fertilizer companies to develop improved fertilizers, and funding demonstration projects that increase nitrogen use efficiency.



#20
Adopt emissions-reducing rice management and varieties


Rice paddies contributed at least 10 percent of agricultural production emissions in 2010, primarily in the form of methane. But there are less emissions- and resource-intensive rice production methods. For example, shortening the duration of field flooding can reduce water levels to decrease the growth of methane-producing bacteria. This practice can reduce emissions by up to 90 percent while saving water and increasing rice yields on some farms.  Some rice varieties also generate less methane. Actions to take include conducting engineering analyses to identify promising opportunities for reducing water levels, rewarding farmers who practice water-efficient farming, investing in breeding programs that shift to lower-methane rice varieties and boosting rice yields.



#21
Increase agricultural energy efficiency and shift to non-fossil energy sources


Emissions from fossil energy use in agriculture accounted for 24 percent of agricultural production emissions in 2010. The basic opportunities include increasing energy efficiency, which has been only modestly explored in agricultural settings, and switching to solar and wind. Reducing emissions per unit of energy used by 75 percent would reduce the GHG mitigation gap by 8 percent. Actions to take include integrating low-carbon energy sources and efficiency programs into agriculture programs and using renewable energy in nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing.


#22
Implement realistic options to sequester carbon in soils


Efforts to mitigate agricultural emissions have primarily focused on sequestering carbon in soils, but recent research suggests this is harder to achieve than previously thought. For example, practices to increase carbon, such as no-till farming, produced little or no carbon increases when measured at deeper soil depths. Important strategies include avoiding further loss of carbon from soils by halting conversion of forests, protecting or increasing soil carbon by boosting productivity of grasslands and croplands, increasing agroforestry, and developing innovative strategies for building carbon where soil fertility is critical for food security.



WRI produced this report in partnership with the World Bank, UN Environment, UN Development Programme, and the French agricultural research agencies CIRAD and INRA.


Download the full report, "Creating a Sustainable Food Future" (*.pdf) by Tim, Richard, Craig, Janet, Patrice and Emily. [LINK]


Compiled by Prof. Dr. h. c. mult. I. Z. Nessuno-Raskolnikov (2019)


Al Gore: "I'm super cereal."

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