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  Friday, 01 August 2014

Productivity and Sustainability: Future needs of the agriculture, forestry, and fishing activities

It is expected that at the half of this century the world’s population reaches 9000 millions. It is also expected that the biggest growth rate is going to happen on areas that depend mostly on the agriculture industry (livestock, agriculture, fisheries and forestry) and there’s where you can find the highest levels of alimentary insecurity. The agriculture activities growth is also the most effective way of reducing poverty and guaranteeing alimentary security.

On 2025 the 83% of world’s population, which is going to be around 8.500 million people, are going t olive in developed countries. However the capacity of the resources and technologies needed to satisfy the requirements of food and other agricultural products remains uncertain. Agriculture must face this challenge, including the rise of the production on lands that are already producing, and avoiding the exploit of lands that are barely suitable for cultivation.


Innovative approaches are needed in agriculture to raise the productivity, protect natural resources, and also learn to use the resources in an efficient and sustainable way. 

The agriculture industry contributes to the climate change and also suffers the effects of it. Improving the practices, and the reduction of deforestation of the Woods give an important aid to the climate change and augments the mitigation potential of their effects.

"We recognize that increasing the agricultural productivity is the primary mean to satisfy the ongoing demand of food, given the limitations relative to the land and water’s growth used to the food production "

Final Declaration of the World Summit about Alimentary Security

FAO, Rome, November 16-18th 2009

The vision of the FAO about the systems of sustainable production on the agriculture requires the integration of the social, economic, and environmental aspects.

It is centered on how to achieve the transition to sustainable practices.


The activities of the FAO are centered on the following aspects:

1.     The rise on the efficacy on the resources usage with the objective of achieving a better productivity using the fewest amount of supplies, reducing at minimum the negative externalities;

2.     The management of ecological, social and economic resources related to the agriculture production systems, that include plagues, diseases, and climate change;

3.     The determination and empowerment of the role of ecosystem services, especially regarding the effects of the efficacy on the utilization and response to the risks, as well as their contribution to the conservation of the environment;

4.     The development of the access to the technology and information, which are much needed.

In order to create the conditions for sustainable agriculture and rural development, are needed some important adjustments on the agricultural, environmental and macroeconomic policies, nationally and internationally, on developed countries, and in countries under developed. The main objective on the sustainable agriculture and rural development is to raise the food production in a sustainable way, and to improve alimentary security. This requires to take initiatives on education, on the usage of economic incentives, and the development of new and appropriate technologies, in order to guarantee stability on the adequate food supply, the access to supplies of vulnerable groups and production for markets; employment and the income generation to fight against poverty, and the management of natural resources, and environmental protection.

Priority should be given to maintaining and improving the productive capacity of agricultural land with better odds of responding to the needs of a growing population  However it is also needed to conserve and rehabilitate the natural resources on less productive lands with the objective of preserving the man/sustainable land ratio. The main instruments for the sustainable agriculture and rural development are the modification of agricultural policies, seeking the participation of the communities, income diversification, land preservation, and a better resources management. The success of the sustainable agriculture and rural development will depend on the support and participation of the rural community, the government, private sectors, and international cooperation, included the technical and scientific cooperation.

What needs to be done?

These challenges lead to five key principles for the orientation of the strategic development towards new approaches and sustainability change:

  • Principle 1: Improving the efficiency on the resources usage is fundamental for the sustainable agriculture.

  • Principle 2: The sustainability requires direct actions to preserve, protect and improve natural resources.

  • Principle 3: The agriculture that doesn’t achieve to protect and improve the rural livelihoods and the social welfare is unsustainable.

  • Principle 4: The sustainable agriculture must raise the resilience of the people, of the communities, and the ecosystems, above all the things to the climate change and to the market volatility.

  • Principle 5: Good government is essential to the sustainability oof the natural systems, as well as the human systems.


Benefits of the Sustainability:

Economic benefits

  • Improving the competitiveness of the different actors in the value chain through the use of technology for:

  • Optimizing the use of inputs.

  • Offer better efficacy on the production process.

Environmental benefits

  • Optimizing the use of natural resources (energy, water, soil).

  • Reducing gas emissions of greenhouse gases and waste.

  • Fighting against the different kind of stress on the crops (plagues, diseases, etc) using technologies that reduce environmental impact.

Social benefits

  • Contribute to the sustainable development of the rural environment and the people which live there.

  • Improvement of the security on the food supply.

Summarizing, the best way to contribute to the sustainable development is using the productive efficiency, that is, through the development of more and better food with fewer resources. The history of the agriculture has taught us that the only way in which we have improved the productivity was using the implementation of new technologies to secure the availability of food and environmental care. 


FAO – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
UN – United Nations Organization



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