A recently published Lancet Report by EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet and Health advocates the need for sustainable food production to curb the growing adverse impact of food production on environment.
Effect of food Production on Environment
- Deforestation- conversion of forest land to arable land. Agriculture occupies around 40% of the global land.
- Conversion of natural ecosystem to croplands and pastures pose largest threat to extinction of species
- Food production is responsible for 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions
- Agriculture puts strain on water resources- it accounts for 70% of the freshwater use
- Overuse and misuse of nitrogen and phosphorus (from fertilizers and pesticides) causes contamination of water, eutrophication and dead zones in lakes and coastal zones.
Steps to be taken (Lancet Report recommendations)
- Greenhouse gas expansions from agricultural expansion and land use will have to be reduced from 5 gigatone of CO2 equivalent per year to -10 gigatone of CO2 per year by 2100
- Food production to sustain 10 billion people should-
- Use no additional land
- Save existing biodiversity- Biodiversity loss must be decelerated from 100 to between 1 to 80 extinctions per million species annually
- Reduce freshwater consumption
- Substantially reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution- Phosphorus use must be reduced from current usage of 17.9 teragram to between 6-16 teragram
- At least 75% reduction in yield gaps (difference between potential yield and actual farm yield under the same environment)
Best Practice in India
- Organic farming in Sikkim- Sikkim won the Future Policy Award 2018 of the Food and Agricultural Organisation for its sustainable farming practices.
- Zero-Budget Natural Farming in Andhra Pradesh