UN’s roadmap for greener farming: a balancing act between ambition and reality

The United Nations, during the COP28 climate summit, unveiled its first comprehensive plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from global agriculture, sparking a debate over equitable responsibility in adopting greener methods. With nearly a third of global emissions stemming from food systems, including fertilizers, storage, transportation, and waste, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) proposes a multifaceted approach to increase farm productivity while minimizing emissions.

The roadmap seeks to enhance the use of clean energy, restore soil and pastures, reduce chemical inputs, and address food loss and waste. It emphasizes the need for a “just transition” in agriculture, considering the varying capabilities and needs of countries. While wealthy nations are urged to reduce high animal-source food consumption, developing countries are encouraged to improve crop yields through sustainable intensification and other methods.

On the ground, countries like India face a stark reality with agriculture as the primary livelihood for millions. While some farmers are experimenting with sustainable methods, challenges such as climate impacts, economic pressures, and the initial drop in yields from transitioning to organic farming make widespread adoption difficult. Experts argue that significant change requires not only a shift in practices but also assured income and robust support systems for farmers.

The FAO’s roadmap is ambitious, aiming to balance increased productivity with environmental sustainability. However, it faces criticism for focusing on incremental improvements and not addressing the broader systemic changes needed in the global food system. The success of this endeavor hinges on the commitment of nations to invest in sustainable agriculture, the readiness of farmers to adapt, and the international community’s support in bridging the climate finance gap.

Source: CS Monitor

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