A sustainable and effective farming is important in order to face climate change and a growing world population.
Agriculture and food security
If the world's population will increase to more than nine billion by 2050, can we produce food for everyone without over-exploiting the planet? It's possible, the researchers say, if we produce food in a sustainable way.
Agriculture is vital to our survival and one of the main food sources for poor people in rural areas. Among the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, Goal 2 includes this challenge: to eradicate hunger and create conditions for food to be produced sustainably.
Today more food than ever is produced on our planet, enough to cover everyone's needs for food. But at the same time, more than 800 million people live with hunger because they do not have enough food, mainly in South Asia and Africa. Also, agriculture is considered to be one of the greatest threats to our environment because it contributes to global warming, biodiversity loss and makes it difficult for nature to contribute to human well-being in the same way as before.
This is why it is important to create more productive and climate and environmentally sustainable agriculture, something that Sida is supporting. Sustainable agriculture not only contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and preservation and development of biodiversity and ecosystems. It also means less soil erosion and deforestation and that it will be easier for people to support themselves and get out of poverty.
Sustainable agriculture is about preserving productive soils, clean water, forests and biodiversity. It also ensures that nutrients can circulate effectively, that ecosystems are functioning properly and that biological diversity is preserved. That chemicals are handled in a secure manner is also important.
Agriculture can also be instrumental in storing carbon dioxide and methane, rather than contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Better knowledge and techniques of how to increase and refine crop yields is also needed for farmers to be able to export more to other countries.
Sida's support to agriculture, forestry, aquaculture, fishing and rural development accounted for just over 5 percent of Sida's total development assistance in 2016 and amounted to 955 million SEK. The support has a particular focus on strengthening women so they can make more money from their agriculture.
Agriculture is also an important part in other activities supported by Sida, such as support to the strengthening of farmers’ rights to the land they live on and manage as well as their right to clean water. A large part of Sida's support to research also goes towards agriculture.
Adaptation to climate change
Climate change affects the conditions for growing a variety of crops, with drought, rising temperatures, floods and extreme weather events. Therefore, Sida supports activities to adapt food production to a changing climate. It may be about increasing productivity, introduce new seeds, improve the efficiency of irrigation or develop alternative agricultural methods. We also need to ensure that coastal areas can be used for agriculture and that coastal fishing can survive.