A sustainable and effective farming is important in order to face climate change and a growing world population.
Agriculture and food security
As population is expected to rise to 9 billion by the year 2050, will we be able to feed ourselves without completely exhausting our planet’s natural resources? It could be possible, researchers say, if we produce food in a sustainable way.
Agriculture is essential for our survival and it’s one of the most important ways to make a living for poor people living in rural areas. More food than ever is currently produced on our planet – it should be possible to cover everyone's nourishment needs. However, more than one billion people suffer from malnutrition, most of them living in South Asia and Africa. At the same time, mismanagement of agriculture is considered one of the largest threat to our environment, as it contributes to global warming and the loss of ecosystem services*
Supporting a development towards more productive and environmentally sustainable agricultural systems is therefore an important part of Sida’s work. It will not only lead to less greenhouse gas emissions and conservation of ecosystem services, but also to less deforestation and improved opportunities for income and employment.
A sustainable agricultural system means conservation of productive soils, clean water, effective circulation of nutrients and biodiversity. A good management of chemicals is another important factor.
In addition, agriculture needs to be able to store carbon dioxide and methane, rather than add to increased emission of greenhouse gases. Better knowledge and technology on how to refine harvested products is also needed to increase the international trade.
Sida's support to agriculture, forestry, fishery and rural development amounted to SEK 1.1 billion – equivalent to about six per cent of Sida´s total development cooperation in 2012.The support focuses especially on strengthening women's economic development by increasing yields and developing markets for the products. The importance of agriculture for food security has lately been given an increased attention, and 70 per cent of grants in this sector were allocated to agriculture. Support to rural development represents a quarter of Sweden’s overall aid within the agriculture sector, while fishing makes up just below one percent.
Climate change will continue to affect future farming conditions, especially due to droughts, rising temperatures, flooding and extreme weather. Adapting to a changing climate is thus an important aspect of Sida’s food supply projects and programmes. The initiatives include introducing new seeds, improving irrigation and developing alternative farming methods. Securing coastal areas for food production, such as coastal fishery and integrated coastal zone management, will be given more priority in the future.
Better opportunities for poor people to contribute to and benefit from economic growth and obtain a good education and Improved environment, limited climate change and strengthened resistance to environmental impact, climate change and natural disasters are two of the six subsidiary objectives in the government's aid policy framework. Food security is highlighted as an important result to reach the first objective, whereas the sustainable management of ecosystems and sustainable use of ecosystem services is highlighted as an important result for the latter.
(*source: Johan Rockström, Stockholm Environment Institute)