UN Pushes for Smarter Farming

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is pushing farmers in southern Africa to employ more sustainable agricultural techniques in order to protect the environment.

Over the past several weeks, the United Nations has published a series of reports about the world population and global food production. The most alarming of these reports indicated that over the next fifty years, the Earth’s population could increase by 50 percent, rising from 6 billion to 9 billion.

On top of the growing population, the UN has estimated that a significant portion of the world’s land resources are seriously degraded, meaning that erosion and the leeching of nutrients has reduced much of the Earth’s agricultural productivity. Without major agricultural reforms, the UN claims, the world will face growing food insecurity and famine.

In southern Africa in particular, sustainable farming is desperately needed. Studies have indicated that the region’s soil is severely degraded and that declining fertility has threatened agricultural production.

In order to combat this, the UN has recommended a series of sustainable farming techniques. Most important is including crop rotation in many farms, particularly focusing on growing plants that can help replenish the soil. In addition, the UN recommended reducing soil disturbances and cutting back on plowing in order to maximize the retention of organic matter.

These practices, UN scientists hope, can serve as an example for the rest of the world and a model for global sustainability.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer