Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Farming Practices Need Change to be Sustainable

To accommodate the increasing world population and climate change, farming methods must be both productive and sustainable. Shivaji Pandev, director of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Plant Production and Protection Division, advocated for strategic improvements to farming practices throughout the world at the IVth World Congress on Conservation Agriculture in New Delhi.

"The world has no alternative to pursuing Sustainable Crop Production Intensification to meet the growing food and feed demand, to alleviate poverty and to protect its natural resources. Conservation Agriculture is an essential element of that Intensification," Pandey said.

To increase production, farmers throughout the world have made similar mistakes: ploughing too often, applying too much fertilizer or pesticide, or providing too much irrigation water. While these strategies may appear effective in the short-term, they have long term consequences that reduce productivity.

To increase production effectively over the long term, farming practice changes should be focused on conservation agriculture, which is a practice that eliminates ploughing and includes the use of crop rotation and permanent soil cover.

Conservation agriculture helps increase productivity, but it has additional benefits as well. It reduces the carbon footprint created by farming and reduces water loss since healthy soil loses less water to evaporation. For more detail about Pandev’s presentation or recommendations, view the full article here.

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