The need for sustainable agriculture

As sustainability is continuously growing in importance and impact, it naturally plays a crucial role in the agriculture industry as well. There is an inherent link between agricultural practices and the health of fields, lands, and finally the consumers. Therefore, sustainability is one of the central priorities. From government funding programmes for organic farming, to efficient and innovative farming techniques, to the decision-making of consumers in supermarkets.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: “to be sustainable, agriculture must meet the needs of present and future generations, while ensuring profitability, environmental health, and social and economic equity.” This view coincides with general definitions of sustainability as well, and the “future generations” concept.

From a holistic perspective, agriculture is interconnected with food security and its four pillars: availability, access, utilization, and stability. Moreover, a sustainable shift in the industry would contribute greatly to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations, primarily “Zero Hunger”.

Additionally, building on the three dimensions of sustainability (environmental, social, and economic), actors in the agriculture industry would benefit from taking on a Triple Bottom Line approach: Measuring and keeping track of the business operations’ impact on profits, people and the planet. Due to the direct link between agricultural operations and the environment and the communities they impact, it is imperative to make changes that benefit all stakeholders.

However, climate change poses great threats such as water scarcity, wildfires, desertification, and the depletion of natural resources, just to name a few. Simultaneously, the growing population presents an increased demand, whereas food waste is another key issue needing to be addressed. 

All in all, agriculture faces many challenges, combined with heightened expectations and decreasing profits. There is not just one solution to these problems, but innovative techniques and sustainable practices are greatly needed in order to ensure the ability of meeting present and future needs.


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