How agricultural innovations can feed the world while protecting the planet


It is crucial that we address the growing challenges of modern society by ensuring our global population has enough food.

The UN estimates that more than 3Billion people worldwide – 40% of the world’s population – can’t afford healthy food. The global population will grow by 2 billion more people by 2050, so it’s not possible to make positive changes.

We want to keep more land from being converted to farming, as we have more people to feed. The world has lost more one third of its arable land over the past 40 years due to climate change and creeping desertification. We want to end deforestation, and to return more land back to nature.

How can we feed a growing world population?

This is a huge challenge given the danger climate change poses to agricultural production on existing farmland or less. We also know that agriculture is responsible 12% for global greenhouse gas (GHG), emissions. It’s crucial that we address this part of the solution to climate changes.

These statistics shouldn’t be a reason to despair. I believe that with the right support from government, companies, and responsible NGOs, farmers can overcome these problems. Working in agriculture, I am well aware of the importance of modern crop science products and digital tools to enable widespread adoption and support regenerative farming methods. These innovations already show how we can feed the planet, move agriculture towards carbon neutrality, and preserve biodiversity.

What can we do to make farming more sustainable?

The widespread adoption of sustainable agricultural methods can help reduce GHG emissions and make the soil and farmland healthier, more fertile, and thus more productive over time.

These methods are being adopted by more and more farmers all over the globe. Agricultural science and innovation are helping farmers increase their farm productivity and decrease GHG emissions.

What are the most recent innovations?

At the moment, 70% of all freshwater is consumed by agriculture. This is not sustainable as we increase production to feed our growing population. Digital technologies, including sensors in the fields and farm-specific software management system, are helping farmers to reduce water use. This is a challenge that can vary widely even within one field.

Improvements in chemistry over the past 60 years have allowed a reduction of the number of pesticides that 95% has used. Precision “see-and-spray” technology can help reduce herbicide use by as much as 90% and we will continue to follow this trend.

The advancements in seed breeding techniques, as well as the development of biological stimulants, which act like vitamins for crops, are making it easier for crops to withstand heat, drought, flooding, and wind caused by climate change. Modern breeding also gives us vegetables and fruits that are more suited for human consumption and last longer.

Balance between economic and environmental factors

Farmers are natural stewards of their land and have an instinctive respect for the environment. Farmers are also businesspeople. Farmers must be able make their own money if they want to produce food that the world can afford. Sustainability in agriculture must be a part of the overall economic plan. Modern agricultural innovation can bring farmers lower costs and greater profits. Another reason to be optimistic about the future of the global agricultural industry is the ability to meet the challenges that we face.

The world’s agricultural sector made great strides in sustainability and productivity during the second half of the 20th century. The world produces 150% more food than 1960 on 13% less land.

Innovative technologies and practices are crucial to help the world meet the challenges of growing a global community and restoring the earth that sustains us all.

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