Feeding the planet’s ever-expanding population while dealing with climate change will require a new way of thinking about agriculture. Current farming methods are depleting the earth’s resources and producing alarming quantities of greenhouse gases—agriculture operations currently produce 13 percent of human-based global GHG emissions. The environment is paying a huge price in biodiversity loss and deforestation, while the global economy leaks billions of US dollars per year on conventional agriculture’s economic side effects.
Turning agriculture a brighter shade of green will not only ease pressure on the environment and help cope with climate change, but will also create opportunities to diversify economies, increase yields, reduce costs, and generate jobs—which will in turn help reduce poverty and increase food security. Increasing farm yields and improving ecosystems services will be a boon to the 2.6 billion people who depend on agriculture for a livelihood, particularly in developing nations where most farmers live on small parcels in rural areas.
Huge gains can be made for a greener future by simply reducing agricultural waste and inefficiency. Nearly 50 percent of food produced is lost through crop loss or waste during storage, distribution, marketing, and household use. Some of these inefficiencies—especially crop and storage losses—can be addressed with small investments in simple farming and storage technologies.
Greening agriculture will require investment, research, and capacity building. UNEP’s contribution to this global effort includes the following innovative programmes:
For a more on the future of green agriculture please visit UNEP’s Green Economy Report website.