Caroline Ashley of the Forum for the Future argues that the food and agriculture system needs a deep transformation and that land and what “agriculture” means to businesses needs to be radically restructured.
There is a very basic brewing in the food and agriculture sector, probably hidden in a clear view. It’s about the need to reconstruct land and reinvent agriculture.
I believe food and agriculture are at least 20 years behind the energy sector in their transition. The slow pace of food decarbonization means that it actually becomes an increasing share of our carbon dioxide emissions. The problem is not just the pace problem, but the approach.
Those who are still aware that despite efforts to tackle specific challenges such as deforestation, we need a completely different approach to how we manage our land and what we consider to be “agriculture.” Almost none. In the world of Net Zero, land is not used for single crops. Maintain intercropping, livestock, pasture, biodiversity, water services, carbon sequestration, recreation and educational services. And the farmer is not the producer of a particular crop, but the caretaker of the land. There are multiple sources of income, including carbon credits, payments for ecosystem services, and sales of goods and services. In addition, the essence of living in harmony with nature, rather than depleting it, is also important.
According to the data, this shift is inevitable
Recently, two very important reports came out.First-incredibly depressing IPCC ReportIs set to actually increase one-third of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions currently being generated by food and agriculture as other sectors decarbonize more easily and quickly. I emphasized that I am. There is no doubt that we must focus on how we produce food in order to deal with the climate crisis. It’s about soil.
The second important report is Oxfam, Bring our attention back to the land. Oxfam is mathematically the only proven technology that exists if all of the current carbon offsets planned for Net Zero Commitment are achieved by planting and planting, and all on earth. He points out that farmland is needed. Yes, that’s all! Land five times as large as India. It’s clearly not feasible, but its implications are clear. Land demand will skyrocket. So is the claim that competes with tension. Trade-offs between different users and land use are inevitable.
From now on, two major meanings stand out. One is that as carbon markets and nature-based solutions emerge, they need to be shaped by the rights of landowners. The poorest farmers and inhabitants should have great opportunities to make a living in these new markets rather than losing land. Their rights and views need to be the foundation of the system to ensure a fair transition.
Second, we need to rethink how food is produced in order to integrate carbon sequestration, ecosystem services and production into a revolutionary food economy.
What is preventing this transition of food?
This basic reframing perception does not seem to be happening. When talking to food companies, too many people are looking at GHG emissions per cow or the sustainability of a particular crop, not the total emissions of the entire farm or landscape. The focus is in the wrong place. The conversation is also in the wrong place.
In the palm of your hand, soybeans, cotton, and many sector initiatives, sustainability advances are progressing, but sector lenses are isolated.As Peter Stanbury -Senior Associate of Innovation Forum-The company’s procurement team is working in silos, pointing out that double-growing farmers are having a hard time even selling coffee and pepper to the same company. Complex future agricultural systems require farmers to have easy access to multiple markets at once.
The conversation between dairy products and beef is “meat vs. no meat”. But the answer lies in raising livestock that play an ecological role played by wild roaming buffalo, breaking down the substrates for laying seeds, supplying nutrients, and moving on. The world of “reductionism” is clearly essential, but it needs to be based on a new, more integrated approach to ecosystem-specific solutions and land management decisions.
Some of the latest trends are also useless. Nature-based solutions are not part of a regenerative approach to land and livelihoods, but are evolving as a “western settlement era” with the risk of depriving land. I tremble when I hear big companies setting up “incentives” for farmers to make the transition, rather than investing in entirely new livelihoods that they can shape themselves.
When farmers want to move to regenerative farming, they often lack access to transition funds, value chain partners to bear risks and upfront costs, or markets that distinguish their produce.
And finally, there are deeper issues with power and paradigm. Indigenous or indigenous approaches to land not only employ a more complex and long-term approach to productivity and soil health, but are also based on different emotional or spiritual relationships with the land. Relationships that are easily rejected by our current thinking of single-product enhancement. In the current system where farmers are price takers, the wisdom of people working on the land is not valued. The shift to messy multi-cropped reclaimed agriculture is arguably frustrating and destructive for companies that are currently dependent on mass production and lowest procurement costs. get annoyed. costly. challenge. A blow to profits. But it’s not as dire as the world warmed at 3 degrees Celsius.
But there is great potential.There is a growing interest in Regenerated agriculture, Landscape approach, This is not yet mainstream, but a perception of indigenous practices. Managing land at multiple levels, from a single farm to a landscape, requires the best blend of sociocultural, political, ecological and economic perspectives that humanity can achieve.
All players in the sector need to tackle these difficult challenges if they are serious about ensuring that food and agriculture are part of the solution, rather than driving the problem. The first step requires a consistent vision of what a renewable land-use system will look like, how to get there, and the perception of change and the interrelated complexity at hand.
Caroline Ashley is Director of the Forum for the Future Global Program.
https://www.businessgreen.com/opinion/4035843/radical-shifts-mean-farming-about-land What we mean by agriculture and what we think of land requires a fundamental change.