Otautahi – About 40 percent of the global population cannot afford a healthy diet.
The agriculture industry is vulnerable to climate impacts, making it harder to support a growing population.
Between 2016 and 2019 the total New Zealand farm area decreased from 13,991,897 hectares to 13,561,175ha. The total number of New Zealand farms decreased from 52,785 to 49,530
Agricultural land makes up at least 50 percent of the area of almost all NZ regions. Consequently, New Zealand uses a little over half of its entire land area for agricultural purposes.
The New Zealand agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector contribute $12.6 billion to the national GDP in the 12 months to September 2020, and employed 143,000 people, 5.9 percent of New Zealand’s workforce, as of the 2018 census.
In 2022, innovative technologies and practices are critical to enable sustainable farming in New Zealand and globally to feed the world.
According to the UN, more than three billion people around the world cannot afford a healthy diet. By 2050 the global population is expected to grow by an additional two billion, so unless we make changes that’s a grim prospect.
How can New Zealand and other countries feed an expanding world population? It’s a daunting challenge, particularly given the threat climate change poses to agriculture production using existing or even less farmland.
Agriculture contributes 12 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions so it is critical to find a solution to climate change.
The widespread adoption of sustainable agricultural practices such as no-till farming, crop rotation and the use of cover crops between growing seasons can reduce GHG emissions.
Agriculture consumes 70 percent of the world’s fresh water. That’s not a sustainable level as we expand output to feed the growing population.
Digital technologies including sensors in fields, and farm-specific software management systems are helping farmers reduce their use of water by only applying it in precise amounts where it’s needed.
Over the last 60 years, there have been a 95 percent reduction in the amount of pesticides used globally.
Farmers have a natural respect for nature. But they are also business people. If they are going to produce food the world can afford, farmers must be able to make money themselves.
In farming, economic and environment sustainability must go hand in hand. Fortunately, the benefits of modern agricultural innovation can translate to lower costs and higher profits for farmers.
During the latter part the 20th century, world agriculture made tremendous strides in productivity and sustainability. Compared with 1960, the world now produces 150 percent more food on only 13 percent more land.