Yet another report, this time from a group of 20 leading scientists, has shown that sustainable agriculture is badly needed to save our food system. The release of the report follows the UN announcement in May that sustainable agriculture had to be prioritized to resolve world hunger.
In the report, the experts point to rising air and water pollution, loss of biodiversity, high greenhouse gas emissions, widespread degradation of land, and persistent micro-nutrient deficiencies as just some of the many issues that need to be resolved and to which widespread sustainable agriculture may be the answer.
The report was written by the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems, a new group co-chaired by Olivier De Schutter, former UN special rapporteur on food. The panel is made up of members hailing from a variety of countries, both rich and poor, and who have no link to the industry, reports the Guardian.
The report argues that food supplies would not be greatly affected by a shift towards more sustainable agriculture practices, despite what those linked to agribusiness — including but not limited to crop breeders, pesticide manufacturers, grain traders, and supermarkets — would have consumers believe.
“It is not a lack of evidence holding back the agro-ecological alternative,” says De Schutter. “It is the mismatch between its huge potential to improve outcomes across food systems, and its much smaller potential to generate profits for agribusiness firms.”
The members identified three major consequences of intensive industrial farming, including the generation of one-third of the world’s greenhouse gases by the industry, the excessive application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and the waste generated by industrial animal farming ventures, linked to severe water pollution, devastating ecological issues, and a host of human health problems.
“Industrial agriculture has occupied a privileged position for decades and has failed to provide a recipe for sustainable food systems,” the report reads. “There is enough evidence now to suggest that a shift towards diversified agro-ecological systems can dramatically improve these outcomes.”
Several international bodies have pledged their support of sustainable agriculture this year, including the G20 Agricultural Ministry andthe European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee.
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