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Trade and Environment Review 2013

Wake up before it is too Late - Make Agriculture Truly Sustainable now for Food Security in a Changing Climate

image of Trade and Environment Review 2013
The 2013 report warns that continuing rural poverty, persistent hunger around the world, growing populations, and mounting environmental concerns must be treated as a collective crisis. Urgent and far-reaching action is needed before climate change begins to cause major disruptions to agriculture, especially in developing countries. The report cites a number of trends that collectively suggest a mounting crisis, including increasing food prices, increased fertilizer use, and a decline in the agriculture growth rate. But most important of all are the persistent problems with hunger, malnutrition, and access to food. Almost 1 billion people currently suffer from hunger, and another 1 billion are malnourished, even though current global agricultural production already provides sufficient calories to feed a population of 12 to 14 billion.

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Key development challenges of a fundamental transformation of agriculture

The problems of climate change, hunger and poverty, economic, social and gender inequity, poor health and nutrition, and environmental sustainability are inter-related and need to be solved by leveraging agriculture's multi-functionality. Against this background, a fundamental transformation towards climate-friendly agriculture, consisting of a mosaic of agro-ecological production practices, must become the new paradigm, but it should not compromise other very important development objectives Addressing the equity challenge, notably food security and farmer livelihoods. Enhancing sustainable productivity, based on a new, systemically different definition that focuses on total farm output instead of productivity per unit of labour, and Strengthening resilience to resource and energy scarcity and climate change. It is therefore important to think in systems, rather than overemphasizing a climate focus.

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