Green farming has major benefits (2/11/2011, Daily News)

crops

(Bloomberg, Picture: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg)

 Farming ecologically to counter food insecurity and maximising the use of crops as a carbon sink was possible – all that was needed was long-term trust between stakeholders and the political will to get projects off the ground.

Those were the sentiments shared by Henry Neufeldt of the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry at a presentation he delivered at one of the 17th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17) side-events yesterday.

“Agriculture that is sustainable increases productivity while removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere,” he said, quoting the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

“By 2050, 70 percent more food would need to be produced to feed a much larger population,” he said.

Increased agriculture would also place greater pressure on biodiversity, he said.

The only way forward, he said, was to reduce the environmental impact while maximising output.

He said that one way for governments to assist in the move to more sustainable practices was to provide frameworks which incentivised sustainable management practices, such as making use of crop rotation, boundary trees and feed choices.

He said that the poor often resorted to coping strategies, such as eating the seeds that they would have otherwise planted during the next season.

“This is why all sustainable programmes need to work with food security,” he said.

Marja-Liisa Tapio-Bistrom of the FAO agreed with Neufeldt and said that food insecurity and climate change were the most difficult goals of our time.

“This is especially pressing because there are more than one billion people who do not have enough to eat,” she said. ~ Kamcilla Pillay

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