Agriculture as a Means of Greening the Economy

ANIP consultant

Without food and nutrition security, there can be no green economy.

Crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries, and food processing will all play a key role in the transition to a green economy. Croplands, pastures, and woods cover 60% of all terrestrial area, agriculture utilises 70% of all freshwater withdrawn globally, and the sector as a whole employs 40% of the world's population.

The agricultural sector is strongly reliant on natural resources in its production processes, and thus has the potential to both harm and improve the environment. While present methods contribute to almost a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, good management techniques can result in a nearly carbon-neutral sector, as well as the production of environmental services and renewable energy output, while still achieving food security.

The agricultural industry, especially in the poorest nations, may be a driver of economic development and the creation of millions of green jobs. As a result, without the agricultural sector, there can be no green economy.

Simultaneously, food and nutrition security must be addressed as a key component of the green economy. This is because climate change, resource depletion, and poverty are all threats to food and agriculture systems, which are the same issues that the green economy seeks to address.

In a resource-constrained society, only an economic system that improves human well-being and social fairness while considerably decreasing environmental hazards and ecological scarcities would be able to provide food security for nearly nine billion people by 2050.

Green jobs for smallholders

Small rural households, which still account for two-fifths of the world's population, are under increasing strain, and agricultural employment and opportunities must be expanded in a green economy.

Out-migration from rural areas is resulting in the growth of urban slums, as well as the difficulties of these poor city people to obtain food and water. Smallholders must be supported in order to achieve food security and preserve natural resources.

Farming, forestry, and fisheries operations play a critical role in landscape management and the supply of ecological and cultural services in both developed and developing countries.

More diverse food systems and off-farm diversification - such as value addition, rural-urban food networks, agri- and eco-tourism, and small-scale forest-based companies - provide livelihood options in job-scarce areas (particularly, but not exclusively, in LDCs), while Land stewardship is being improved.

Nutritional diets for long-term sustainability

Food and nutrition security has become a matter of efficiency, shock resilience, and distributional equity in a world where there is increasing competition for scarce resources (e.g. water), resource degradation (e.g. soils), increased uncertainty (e.g. climate change), volatility (e.g. fuel and food prices), conflict (e.g. land tenure), and wastage (e.g. one third of all food is lost during post-harvest handling and retailing).

The problem of malnutrition, which affects nearly one billion people, is compounded by the problem of micronutrient malnutrition, which affects roughly 1.7 billion individuals who are overweight or obese. Individuals at both extremes of the range are not getting enough nourishment from their diets.

Improving nutrition through improved diets has the added benefit of lowering the environmental effect of food choices.Upstream effects on the food production (e.g. diversity) and processing chain would result from a shift to more sustainable diets.

Improved diets will be more sustainable in terms of micronutrient density and quality, resulting in significant increases. Both the environment and public health are at stake.

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