essay on scientific knowledge and agricultural production 300 words

Celebrating Science & Innovation in Agriculture

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Farming First

Agriculture today is about so much more than a farmer simply planting a seed, rearing a cow or catching a fish. It takes a whole ecosystem and a host of actors to work together to produce the food we need for a population of more than eight billion people.

This complex agricultural production system has evolved over time through scientific discoveries and other innovations. It is this dynamic nature that will equip agriculture to cope with the competing challenges of addressing food and nutrition security, improving livelihoods, combatting climate change and sustainably managing natural resources.

Let’s take a closer look at “science and innovation” in agriculture: the ways it works, the benefits it provides and the future challenges it must still help us to overcome.

Natural Resource Management

Farmer tilling field

The world’s 570 million farmers are arguably the most important stewards of the earth’s land, water and biodiversity. Worldwide, farming uses  around 40% of total land area , two-thirds of water withdrawals and 85% of water consumption today. This is up from  around 7% of total land area  back in the year 1700 when the population was less than 10% of what it is today.

Advances in technology and farming practices have helped farmers become much more productive, growing crops efficiently in areas most suitable for agricultural production.

Without these advances, far more land would need to be cultivated to produce the food we need today. For instance, it has been estimated that we could produce the same amount of total food grown fifty years ago on less than one-third the amount of land used back then. If yields had stayed the same since 1961, we’d need to cultivate  more than double the amount of land  to feed the population today – a shift from 12.2 billion acres to at least 26.3 billion acres. That’s 82% of our total land area on earth.

Similarly, farmers tend to use water more efficiently as their yields increase. According to the  International Water Management Institute , a farmer who grows about eight times the yield of another farmer uses only about three times as much water to do so.

In the coastal region of southern Bangladesh, soil salinity and a shortage of water for irrigation typically keep farmers from growing a crop in the dry season. However, a group of innovative women farmers is increasing production of maize, wheat and mung bean during the dry season despite these challenges. Key to their success has been using simple machinery to reduce tillage. This allows for earlier planting and keep crop residues on the soil surface to conserve soil moisture and reduce salinity. The women have also used crop varieties that mature faster.

In central Bangladesh, where the cost of irrigation and farm labour is skyrocketing, farmers and local service providers are teaming up to plant wheat, maize and legumes on raised beds to reduce labour and water requirements.

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia in Bangladesh (CSISA-BD) are working in partnership with the Regional Wheat Research Consortium of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute on this initiative.

Indonesia’s rich landscape makes it ideal for cultivating commodities like palm oil. Yet the increasing incidence of farmers burning land to bring it into production is having grave environmental consequences. Satellite-mapping company DigitalGlobe is working with the World Resources Institute in Indonesia to create a better picture of the earth’s surface, as part of the “Global Forest Watch” (GFW) initiative. Global Forest Watch is an interactive online forest monitoring and alert system designed to empower people everywhere with the information they need to better manage and conserve forest landscapes.

DigitalGlobe’s technology in Indonesia enables the team to see high-resolution visuals of fires and haze patterns that are affecting the environment. The images are then passed on to government agencies who are then better equipped to locate those responsible and develop better policies to prevent this from happening. Global Forest Watch allows users to create custom maps, analyse forest trends, subscribe to alerts, or download data for their local area or the entire world. Users can also contribute to GFW by sharing data and stories from the ground via GFW’s crowdsourcing tools, blogs, and discussion groups.

The low-rainfall area of Barmer, Rajasthan, India can remain dry for up to 11 months of the year. If the rains do not come, farmers struggle to find enough water for their food crops, or for the goats that families keep as a source of milk and manure. Many men have also migrated to the city to find work.

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is working with women in Barmer, offering interventions to help reduce the drudgery of the labour women must undertake to survive. Women are helped to organise themselves into self help groups, and taught how to harvest rainwater. Using this harvested water, the women are taught how to keep small agri-horticultural gardens, which they can also use to earn an income. Improved seeds of pearl millet and other beans are also provided.

One farmer who has seen great success is Mani Devi. She used the profits from her garden to buy a sewing machine, and is now training women in her family and the rest of the village on how to use it.

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are most often linked to the military. However, potato scientists at the International Potato Centre (CIP) are putting them to another use – to gather data on plant life.

Remote sensing projects are helping scientists to observe how plant life develops and evolves across landscapes over time through characteristics such as biomass, nutrient content, disease and water use. In this sense, scientists can use UAVs to collect images and data on plant numbers and type, the lay of agricultural land, and how crops are being affected by disease and climate change.

Currently CIP uses a number of airplane and helicopter UAVs including an Oktokopter XL. This insect-like remote flying machine was acquired from MikroKopter (Germany) and assembled in CIP and is capable of carrying up to two kilograms of camera and computer equipment and flying at altitudes of over 100 metres for up to 12 minutes depending on the application. The Oktokopter XL is also able to fly at a stationary position, which makes it an excellent tool for aerial photography.

The forests of the Congo basin stretch over two million square kilometres, making it the second largest rainforest area in the world. Forests are essential for local and global life, as they not only provide food and a livelihood for the community, but also help prevent global warming by storing vast amounts of carbon from being released into the atmosphere.

But a rapidly growing population and a diminishing source of fish are leading people in the Democratic Republic of Congo to undertake slash and burn agriculture in the forest basin.

As part of a project run by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a new course at the University of Kisangani is helping students collect better data on Congo’s forest, and perform agricultural activities whilst managing its biodiversity sustainably. There are currently few technically trained academics and scientists in DRC, and even fewer women involved in these subjects. Agents responsible for stewarding the forests are also attending courses, to learn more about the impact of human activity on forests.

In Matopo, Zimbabwe, conservation agriculture (CA) techniques have been proved to help farmers increase their yields and conserve  natural resources .

Conservation Agriculture in Zimbabwe

Trained in CA, farmers use a variety of practices and technologies such as digging planting pits, improving soil fertility with manure, mulch or legumes, and precise planting. By  multiple cropping  and rotating maize with indigenous nutrient-rich crops, the soil quality builds over time. Crop residues trap moisture, control weeds, and maintain cooler soil temperatures.

Despite challenging climatic conditions over a period of 3 years, farmers reported increases in yields of sorghum, millet and maize, from an average of about 0.5 tonnes to between 3-4 tonnes per hectare.

Another survey in Zimbabwe compared CA with conventional farming practices under low, normal and high rainfall situations. Regardless of the level of rainfall, farmers achieved yields between 2 and 6 times of those under conventional practices whilst benefitting from reduced input requirements.

Agriculture for Impact has compiled a comprehensive collection of case studies of “sustainable intensification” in action.

Agricultural Extension

Farmer and agriculture extension worker tending crops

Innovation is not only driven by technological advances, but also through novel ways of organizing farmers and connecting them to the information they need.

Many smallholder farmers around the world still farm the same way their ancestors did thousands of years ago. Traditional farming approaches may continue to work for some, but new practices can help many to substantially improve yields, soil quality and natural capital as well as food and nutrition security.

For example, a smallholder farmer in Africa might still scatter her seeds across her land, rather than planting evenly and in rows. This stops the plant’s roots from taking up the maximum amount of nutrients from the soil. She might use seed saved from generation to generation. While indigenous seeds are important to protect genetic diversity, improved seeds could also help her to adapt to changing climate conditions, fight crop diseases and produce higher yields. She may plant the same crop year after year, rather than rotating her crops or planting a range of crops together to grow more, maintain soil health and diversify her family’s diet. And she might store her harvest in such a way that leaves it susceptible to pests, diseases and rot.

Sometimes, innovations to address these issues are taken to farms via extension training. Farmers themselves can be organized in innovative ways so they are reached more easily and effectively with information. The type and style of the extension itself has evolved much over time. For instance, advances in satellite mapping and information and communications technologies (ICTs) are transforming more traditional agricultural extension work today. Farming is becoming more precise and productive as a result.

Banana bunchy top disease (BBTD) is a devastating virus infecting bananas worldwide. It has had a huge impact on both industrial banana production and on subsistence farmers who depend on the crop to feed their families and provide income. Once established, it is very difficult to eradicate and manage the disease.

According to FAO statistics, Nigeria is the second largest banana producer in West Africa, contributing about 2.7 million tonnes annually. Together with partners, the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has launched the ‘Stop Bunchy Top’ campaign in Nigeria to help farmers fight the BBTD infestation.

Training focuses on how they can identify the disease and produce virus-free planting materials. It also creates awareness among extension workers and policymakers about the danger of BBTD and control measures, including the need to plant clean banana suckers to prevent their fields from becoming infested.

iShamba is a mobile based platform that enables smallholder farmers to access real time agricultural and market price information and expert advice via SMS and a call centre. Funded by the TradeMark East Africa’s Challenge Fund and devised by Mediae Company Kenya, iShamba complements Mediae’s existing Shamba Shape Up programme that uses reality TV to give farmers the tools and knowledge to improve profitability and productivity sustainably.

iShamba offers a free subscription service to farmers, giving them market prices for two crops in the two closest markets to them; a weekly weather forecast for their area, including likely rainfall and agronomy tip text messages aligned to the season in the farmer’s specific region in Kenya. This helps them to know exactly when to harvest their crops and which pests and diseases to be on the look out for.

Farmers are also currently benefiting from ‘special offers’ and ‘discounts’ from key East African Community-based agri-product suppliers who are keen to work with iShamba to reach new customers.

How can we measure which technologies will have the most impact on our food supply? Until now, policymakers have struggled to make informed decisions on how to boost productivity in their regions in the most sustainable way.

The recent report  “Food Security in A World of Natural Resource Scarcity: The Role of Agricultural Technologies”  compiled by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) seeks to answer these questions.

The report reviews 11 agricultural technologies ranging from traditional low-tech practices to more advanced technologies, such as no-till agriculture, heat-tolerant varieties and rainwater harvesting. The report finds that different regions will need different technologies. For example, when the impact of drought tolerance is tested globally, it seems to have a low impact, as drought only affects some regions in some seasons and years. Combining multiple technologies (or ‘stacking’ them) can have an even greater impact. Adopting the three types of crop protection (against weeds, diseases and insects) together could reduce the number of food-insecure people by close to 9 per cent. An  online tool  has been developed to allow policymakers and researchers hands-on access to the results.

In 2013, CropLife Latin America formed a partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to train Honduran farmers in good agricultural practices. The aim was to help lift 108,000 rural Hondurans out of extreme poverty by teaching farmers how to protect their crops from pests and disease.

AHSAFE-Honduras (the national member of CropLife Latin America) trained 120 USAID field officers on good agricultural practices and integrated pest management. The field officers in turn have trained more than 30,000 Honduran farmers. These farmers have been able to tackle pests and disease to improve the yield and quality of their crops and they are now earning higher incomes and enjoying a better quality of life. The project helped Emiliano Domínguez, a small-scale Honduran farmer, lift his family out of a life of poverty. He has been able to pay for a new house for his family of five and he has increased the amount of land he farms six times over.

The work in Honduras illustrates how public-private partnerships and good agricultural practices can address hunger and poverty around the world.

Rice production is not keeping up with demand in Africa. Changing diets, and rapid population growth mean that cultivation of this staple crop must dramatically increase its efficiency. To close the rice yield gap in Africa, AfricaRice, under the guidance of Dr. Kazuki Saito, has developed a decision support application (app) for providing African farmers with field-specific management guidelines called  ‘RiceAdvice.’  It is an interactive tool, which generates recommendations based on farmers’ answers to around 20 questions.

RiceAdvice can identify the best choice of fertilizers to be purchased based on nutrient requirement and fertilizer prices, and their amounts and application timing. In RiceAdvice, farmers can also select their own target yield level based on their budget. It has been tested in the Senegal River valley and Kano, Nigeria. Results show that RiceAdvice guidelines give more than one tonne per hectare of yield advantage compared with farmers’ practices.

Saito is also leading a team that has developed the first version of a yield gap map for rice in nine African countries in the  ‘Global Yield Gap Atlas’  website.

Seasonal rainfall forecasts can help farmers adapt to climate change and improve their resilience to climate shocks. The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) is collaborating with the Senegalese National Meteorological Agency (ANACIM) to develop climate information services that are relevant to farmers on a broad scale. Farmers have been involved in every step of the process, helping meteorologists and other specialists package and communicate climate information.

As of August 2015, seasonal forecasts are transmitted nationwide through 82 rural community radio stations and SMS, potentially reaching 7.4 million rural people across Senegal.

Receiving climate information is one thing, but putting it into practice is another. In the beginning, some farmers were reluctant to join the project, as they were very accustomed to basing their actions only on their own know-how.

However, as the project was willing to integrate local knowledge into the climate information disseminated, these farmers became less resistant. Today, farmers are no longer content to wait for climate information, but go in search of it.

Often in Dalung, Ghana, the cold winter winds chase people inside in the evening. But when they have the chance to watch a television screen that teaches better ways to farm, a crowd of 200 villagers gathers in the thoroughfare. They lean in to hear a message that challenges all they know about rice farming and how to grow more than ever.

Media Extension

This is one of several ways IFDC’s Feed the Future Ghana Agriculture Technology Transfer project (ATT) reaches rural farmers through media-based extension. These methods inform farmers quickly and in a cost-effective way. In Dalung, farmers learned about new technology through public video screenings, held on mobile “video vans.” ATT focuses on producing and curating content that appeals to all demographics of farmers. The project helped produce a reality show, “Kuapa,” that promotes good agricultural practices and is aired on Ghana’s most popular TV network.

Elsewhere, the project collaborated with Farm Radio International (FRI) to host programs designed to benefit small-scale farmers. This program implements an Integrated Voice Response System to provide on-demand assistance to farmers who desire to learn more on their own time, and in their own language.

Together these initiatives are estimated to have reached more than 1 million smallholder farmers.

Improved Inputs

Woman pouring bucket of seeds

The quality, availability and proper use of agricultural inputs is at the heart of agricultural production and sustainability.

The crops that we grow today have been bred over the past ten thousand years to be quite distinct from their wild ancestors. Maize, for instance, has  evolved from  a species called teosinte, which is native to Mesoamerica. Similarly, modern wheat is the result of farmers in the Near East  selecting for  mutations which resulted from the natural crossing of different species of wild grass.

Improved Inputs

(Photo credits:  John Doebley ;  LaSalle )

Farmers today are faced with a changing climate, which demands seeds that can cope with increased incidents of droughts, heatwaves, floods and elevated salinity levels. This is happening while arable land per capita is ever decreasing, which compels farmers to maximize harvests on existing land.

To do this, the right inputs need to be used in the right amount and at the right time, in the right location. This is called the 4Rs, and is an integrated part of best management practices for improved and more efficient fertilizer application. For example, in more developed countries, global positioning systems (GPS) are helping farmers to track their use of fertilizer and match it very precisely to various soil types on their farm. It can also help them to identify potential pest or disease outbreaks.

Without pesticides and other pest controls, an  estimated 70% of the world’s crop might be lost , rather than 42% today. This would require substantially more cropland being brought into production to make up for this loss.

Rice dies within days of being completely submerged, resulting in total crop loss. In Asia, where most of the world’s rice is grown, about 20 million hectares of rice land is prone to flooding. In India and Bangladesh alone, more than five million hectares of rice field are flooded during most of the planting seasons, which severely damages food supplies and farmer incomes.

In response, scientists have developed a “flood tolerant” rice variety that can withstand being submerged for two weeks. Scientists at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) scoured rice’s rich diversity for a gene that gives flood tolerance. After the gene (called SUB1) was found, it was bred conventionally into popularly grown rice varieties in rice-growing countries in Asia.

Several varieties with this “scuba” gene were released to India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Lao PDR, and Nepal. Farmer Nakanti Subbarao of Andhra Pradesh, India, was one of the first to adopt Swarna-Sub1 in his community. After seeing that he recovered 70 per cent of this rice after three weeks of flooding, he distributed Swarna-Sub1 seeds to his fellow farmers in Maruteru, which led to coverage of 800 ha in his village, and its nearby areas during the wet season of 2009.

Scuba rice is spreading fast in several countries over the last few years, and currently grown by more than five million farmers in Asia.

In Bangladesh about 60 per cent of the population eats fish at least every other day. Just as a nutritious diet is essential for our own healthy growth and development, the quality of feed given to farmed fish directly influences how fast and large they grow—in turn impacting the yield and farmer profits.

Yet it can be expensive and difficult to access quality feed. WorldFish, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is working on the Aquaculture for Income and Nutrition (AIN) project in Bangladesh, training farmers to make their own fish feed from subsidized feed mills.

Since January 2014, AIN has established 62 feed mills and trained 430 farmers in feed production. Fish are now growing faster, and as growing feed is cheaper than buying it, fish farmers are enjoying a better income.

In a country where more than a third of the population lives below the poverty line, AIN is improving the productivity of household and commercial fish farms to help secure income and nutrition for rural farmers and their families.

In a country often referred to as the “pearl of Africa”, one crop—orange sweet potato (OSP)—has become a real gem for Ugandan farmers and their households. Bred conventionally through a process known as biofortification, OSP packs enough vitamin A to provide a child with a full daily dose. In Uganda, one-third of all children under five lack enough vitamin A, contributing to 29,000 deaths each year.

Diarrhoea is one of the leading causes of child mortality in Africa, but a recent study has shown that OSP can help children ward off or reduce the duration of the disease.

As their children enjoy the nutritional and health benefits of OSP, Ugandan farmers are realizing other gains from the crop, too; OSP is high yielding, early maturing, and drought tolerant, giving farmers good harvests and an additional way to make a living.

To date, nearly 300,000 Ugandan farming households are growing and consuming OSP in a project run by HarvestPlus. With demand for the crop continuing to rise, HarvestPlus and the Government of Uganda are working together to scale up nationally.

In 2005, a new strain of rust disease devastated lentil fields in Ethiopia. The local variety of seeds used by the farmers had little resistance to the new disease caused by unusual weather, a growing problem with climate change. Nearly 90 per cent of the farmers lost their produce.

In response, the Ethiopian government with the help of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) stepped up efforts to improve legume varieties, with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the government of Netherlands. ICARDA provided improved germplasm and varieties of lentils, chickpeas and faba beans for testing on farmers fields. The new varieties were first tested by the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) for adaptability to the local environment, and after crossbreeding with local varieties, those with the highest yield potential were released.

Today, 20 per cent of Ethiopian farmers grow improved lentil varieties from ICARDA’s project, and legumes are now becoming popular. Apart from boosting yields, these crops are making soils healthier and reducing their expenses on fertilizers.

Legumes, being rich in protein and essential minerals such as zinc, also enrich the diets and nutrition of farmers and their families.

Both water and fertilizers play a critical role in agricultural production – in fact, each depends on the other. Fertilizer’s influence on yield depends on the water available to crops, and water’s impact on yield depends on nutrients’ availability to crops.

Managing Water and Fertilizer Use for Sustainable Agricultural Intensification

This presents a significant challenge for countries that have limited, or erratic rainfall, and/or poor access to fertilizers. Traditionally, approaches to boost production in dry regions have focused on individual interventions such as fertilizer use, or water conservation measures. But scientific trials have discovered that approaches that integrate both fertilizer and water use are much more effective.

For example, in the Tadla region of Morocco, laser-assisted land levelling, that reduces water runoff after rainfall, has resulted in both saving 20 per cent more water, and increasing crop yields by 30 per cent. Tiered ridges that capture rainwater have a similar effect: sorghum grain yields at on-farm locations in Burkina Faso were higher with the combination of fertilizer and tied ridges than with either fertilizer or tied ridges alone.

Agronomists at the International Fertilizer Industry Association, together with partners, have produced a scientific book that reviews the latest knowledge on plant nutrition and water management that can optimize water productivity and fertilizer use efficiency and effectiveness.

Farmers walking through a field with different crops together

‘Resilience’  describes  whether a farmer (and her farm) is able to withstand or recover from stresses and shocks. ‘Stresses’ are regular, sometimes continuous, relatively small and predictable disturbances (e.g. lack of access to inputs, a declining natural resource base, climate change and poverty) while ‘shocks’ are irregular, relatively large and unpredictable (e.g. floods, droughts, heatwaves and price volatility).

For farmers to be resilient, they must be able to bounce back from these challenges and achieve previous levels of growth – rather than suffer from reduced yields over time or even worse, a collapse in their production. Climate change already poses a risk, especially to smallholder farmers in the developing world.

Can farmers be supported to help predict these stresses and shocks? Can they be helped to prevent them, buffer themselves or fight against their negative impacts? And can they adapt in ways that make them even better off and more knowledgeable as a result?

According to the government of Ethiopia, 8.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance due to the current drought, coupled with successive failed seasons. El Niño weather conditions and rain failure are resulting in crop harvest loss, livestock death and declining productivity, putting over 400,000 people under emergency support needs. Despite this gloomy background, districts where World Vision has implemented Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) are exhibiting greater resilience. FMNR means helping naturally occurring trees to return to the landscape to help to keep the soil from washing away, to shade crops and to help the land to hold water.

Compared to the adjacent districts, agricultural production of the households that applied FMNR have largely been unaffected due to high moisture retention in their soils. Rivers and hand-dug wells have sufficient water despite reduced precipitation. Income from agricultural production has increased by more than double. Fodder for livestock, wood supply, and a stable microclimate all remain intact.

Furthermore, revenues from carbon credits that farmers have earned for planting more trees cover expenses such as school fees, medication and the purchase of improved seeds, thus safeguarding the wellbeing of families. The observed impact in Ethiopia clearly shows the potential for FMNR to serve as insurance against climate change induced shocks and stresses.

Back in the 1950s, Latin America and the Caribbean experienced one of the most devastating plant disease epidemics in history. The fungus, Panama disease, wiped out large production areas of Gros Michel, the export banana variety. This fungus still remains in the soil, and threatens the livelihood and food security of millions of smallholder farmers.

Bioversity International scientists, in collaboration with partners, have been working with 18 producers in the area of Turrialba, Costa Rica, and Tola, Nicaragua, helping them to become more resilient to Panama disease. Workshops were carried out to teach farmers how to recognise the disease, and stop it spreading. Good agricultural practices were promoted, such as using disease-free planting materials, as well as organic matter application and soil health-oriented fertilization. As a result of the interventions, farmers significantly improved their knowledge about Panama disease and management. They have also shared their experiences with neighbours through group training events, farmer field days and informal exchange.

Farmers now have a toolbox of validated practices for enhanced soil health and management of Panama disease in bananas, as a strategy for protecting their livelihoods.

In Ethiopia, an estimated 12-15 million livestock keepers live in the dry, low rangelands that cover most of the country. These rangelands have huge untapped potential, but drought, unsuitable farming practices and overgrazing have left the land in poor condition, which in turn has impacted the health, condition and value of livestock. Men, who are typically responsible for livestock production, are moving further afield in search of resources, taking them away for longer and increasing risks to their herds of disease and starvation. This affects household incomes, and results in distress sales or consumption of livestock during the hunger period, leaving many households unable to restock herds and lacking savings to invest in alternative incomes.

Farm Africa is working with partners to find more sustainable ways to use available grass and water, and to improve pasture quality. This process can be difficult to measure, as typically the areas in question are very large and remote.

The RaVeN monitoring tool under development by  LTS International  as part of this effort, aims to address this problem. This new tool uses freely available optical and radar satellite data in combination with meteorological data to measure the “greenness” of an area at different points in time, and therefore improve information on what good quality pasture is available for pastoralists to use for grazing their herds.

Ganga Floodwaters

A new initiative being pioneered by scientists at the International Water Management Institute is channelling surplus surface water from flood‐prone rivers, to a modified village pond. Brick structures in the pond allow the water to flow swiftly down below ground, where they infiltrate the local aquifer. This water can then be pumped back up again during the dry season so that farmers can maintain or intensify their crop production.

Putting this into practice will save on the large funds spent each year on relief and restoration efforts of flood victims and on subsidies for groundwater extraction during the non‐rainy season.

With floods being a common occurrence across the Ganga basin, researchers hope that the scaling up of this intervention would help in effectively protecting lives and assets downstream, boosting agricultural productivity and improving resilience to climate shocks at the river basin scale. This will be especially important to help communities deal with climate change which is likely to bring ever more variability in water supply and rainfall.

Planting fruit trees is not a new practice in Central Viet Nam. Local species of pomelo and orange were once popular in home gardens and known for their special flavour. But as focus shifted towards extracting resources from the nearby forests, these fruit-bearing trees were slowly forgotten. But in the last decade, declining soil and water quantity, reduced river flow, and drought have forced farmers to seek alternatives. Tree planting in home gardens and sloping lands provides one such solution.

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), in collaboration with partners and local people has established 12 agroforestry systems in home gardens and sloping land in three villages. The systems combine trees, annual crops and fodder grass. Pomelo and orange trees are planted amid annual crops, such as beans, peanut, sweet potato, maize and guinea fodder grass.

Mixed systems are not only more resistant to climate-related hazards but recent scientific findings show that local people residing in areas with diversified agricultural or forest products are also healthier owing to more nutritionally diverse diets.

Market Access

Woman arranging produce in a market

Market access allows farmers to buy the inputs they need such as improved seeds and fertilizers, and also to bring their crops, livestock and fish to market to earn a living.

Millions of smallholder famers live in remote areas, and are often isolated from market opportunities. Innovations in connecting these farmers to market are happening in many ways – resulting from social, technical and scientific advances. These advances help farmers find and share up-to-date market pricing information; protect and add value to their harvests; invest in their business; reduce and share risk; and access finance and training.

These innovations can be used and accelerated by actors all across the agricultural value chain to reduce transaction costs and risk while helping to give farmers equal access to the opportunities that exist through trade.

In Cambodia, traditional wood-burning stoves used to smoke freshwater fish typically result in low profits and emissions harmful to the environment. To improve this process and fetch higher prices from buyers, many young women engaged in this livelihood are taking part in the Cambodia HARVEST programme, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), that provides a new, fuel-efficient alternative. Eco-friendly stoves designed by the programme use 30 per cent less wood while smoking fish 15 per cent faster than conventional models. The end product is of a higher quality and ensures greater market access.

All 289 of the programme’s fish processors utilize these new stoves. Kry Sokly, a fish processor in in Kampong Prak village, has increased her family’s annual income by 75 per cent, from $1,000 to $1,750. Not only has the new stove contributed to this success, but Kry also took part in trainings on entrepreneurship and hygiene within her producer/savings group. These organizations, formed by Cambodia HARVEST as another way to connect fish processors to the market, offer an opportunity for women to come together for greater knowledge exchange. Moreover, members contribute money into a pool from which they can borrow when needed at interest rates lower than commercial lenders without stipulations on how they use the money.

In the Republic of Georgia, the agriculture sector is booming. Producers are required to adapt and utilise new technologies to keep up with both local and international market demand.

Equipment Investments pay off in Georgia

The company Herbia had run a consolidation centre, where local farmers could bring their produce to market for several years, as well as a three-hectare greenhouse for culinary production. Yet the company was in need of new technologies to increase its sales and market share, so applied to the USAID Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production (REAP) matching grant programme, and established a new refrigerated warehouse with two modern packing lines.

This new equipment quickly enabled Herbia to purchase more goods from smallholders and to launch a new product line that provides whole vegetables for ready-made salads. Additionally, REAP assisted Herbia in rebranding including the development of a new logo and packaging.

The new brand launched in April 2015 in more than 80 Tbilisi supermarkets, resulting in an immediate rise in sales of more than 20 per cent. The new equipment, coupled with Herbia’s rebrand, has produced 16 new jobs (including nine for women), generated more than U.S. $222,690 in sales, and enabled the purchase of more than 44MT of new herbs and vegetables from more than 150 new farmers.

Hidden in the conflict-ridden borderlands of Colombia and Ecuador, farmers have been growing exceptional quality coffee beans, but have remained largely disconnected from gourmet coffee markets. Scientists at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) joined forces with Catholic Relief Services last year, to analyse the coffee trade and find out how coffee farmers in the Nariño region could be linked to these more lucrative markets.

It was soon discovered that buyers from big coffee brands were purchasing Nariño’s coffee based on sight and not a taste test. Farmers were receiving a flat rate for any coffee beans considered to score above 85 out of 100, even though many, when tasted, could actually reach the high 90s. A “cupping” session was arranged by the project, to teach farmers about the rigorous tasting process that could set their coffees apart and help them earn much higher financial rewards.

In its first year, the project enabled around 100 farmers to break into the gourmet coffee market. This year they are up to around 550 and that number is likely to rise.

Traditional business model analysis dictates that the agricultural sector across Africa represents substantial risk. So it is no surprise that existing financial institutions have only met 1 per cent of the overall demand for credit in agriculture. Umati Capital focuses on data and technology, to help small to medium sized enterprises and agribusinesses unlock cash for immediate growth but also achieve operational efficiencies for sustained growth.

Umati Capital has been working closely with one of the leading fair-trade and organic certified Kenyan exporters of macadamia and cashew nuts. Before Umati Capital, the exporter painstakingly procured raw nuts from 60,000 smallholder farmers in remote areas across Kenya using manual and paper-based processes, resulting in errors and delayed payments to the farmers.

Umati Capital helped the exporter by providing invoice discounting, and automating the exporter’s supply chain processes, enabling on-time payments for the farmers.

As a result, the exporter increased purchases from farmers by 50 per cent and improved efficiencies in procurement by 90 per cent.

The MilkIT innovation platform has helped women stuggling to make ends meet in the Himalayan hills of Northern India to generate a regular income from milk from their cows.

Beginning in early 2013, the MilkIT project made efforts to unite dairy development actors, researchers and farmers, to improve access to dairy markets and improved dairy feeds, Now, more than 800 households are selling their milk at higher prices due to collective marketing by self-help group-based cooperatives and closer links to the state cooperative, with subsidies provided to those transporting milk from distant villages to markets.

Livestock keepers have been able to replace unproductive stock with higher yielding animals due to credit support provided by development. Simple feed innovations such as feed troughs, forage choppers suited to women’s needs, adoption of improved forage varieties and dual-purpose crops that act as feed and food, has helped to reduce women’s labour while increasing the availability of fodder.

An impact study conducted in November 2014 showed that families participating in this innovation platform earned five times more income from their dairy animals than non-participants in one year.


Essay on Sustainable Agriculture

Introduction: what is sustainable agriculture, importance of sustainable agriculture, population growth, per capita food consumption, sustainable agriculture and technology, green politics, conclusion of sustainable agriculture.


Sustainable agriculture has dominated the sociological understanding of the rural world largely. Following the enthusiasm around the concept as a means of eradication of poverty and turning the economy to a “resource-efficient, low carbon Green Economy” 1 . Global population, and consequently consumption has increased.

However, technology development has matched the demand for food in terms of food production, but the distribution of food is not evenly distributed. This has brought forth the question of the possibility of supplying adequate food to the ever-growing global population.

Further, the challenges posed by depleting non-renewable sources of energy, rising costs, and climate change has brought the issue related to sustainability of food production and the related social and economic impact of the food production into forefront. This paper outlines the meaning and technology related to sustainable agriculture and tries to gauge its impact as a possible solution to the impending food crisis.

Sustainable agriculture is a process of farming using eco-friendly methods understanding and maintaining the relationship between the organisms and environment. In this process of agriculture and animal husbandry are combined to form a simultaneous process and practice. In other words, sustainable agriculture is an amalgamation of three main elements viz. ecological health, profitability, and propagating equality.

The concept of sustainability rests on the principle of not wasting any resources that may become useful to the future generation. Therefore, the main idea of sustainability rests on stewardship of individual and natural resources. Before understanding the technology involved in sustainable agriculture, it is important to know why we need it in the first place.

The rise in population growth and urbanization of people has led to a dietary change of the world population, which now rests more on animal protein 2 . Therefore understanding the demographic changes in the world population has become an important parameter to judge the future demand for food.

As population growth rate is the key variable that affects the demand for food, therefore understanding the number of people increasing worldwide is important. According to the UNDP results, the annual population growth rate had declined from 2.2% in 1962 to 1.1% in 2010, however, this increase to indicate an increase of 75 million people 3 .

However, this increase in population is not equitably distributed as some areas such as Africa, Latin America, and Asia face a growth rate of 2% while others such as the erstwhile Soviet bloc countries have a negative rate.

According to the UNDP predictions, population worldwide is expected to increase to 9 billion in 2050 from the present 7 billion 4 . Therefore, the uncertain growth in population is expected to affect food demand and therefore food production.

Undernourishment is a prevalent problem in the developing world, wherein almost 20% of the developing world that is more than 5 billion people is undernourished.

Further, in emerging economies, food consumption is increasing with increased preference for animal protein such as meat, dairy products, and egg. Therefore, the growth of consumption of animal protein has increased the necessity of grazing of livestock, therefore, increasing further pressure on the food supply.

It is believed that the increase in the demand for food due to the increase in global population and change in dietary habit of the population. In the past, the demand for food and the rate of production has remained at par, but the unequal distribution of food has led to the major problem in food supply and starvation in various parts of the world.

Another problem that food production in the future faces is the constraint of non-renewable natural resources. The most critical resources, which are becoming scant for the future generations are –

  • Land : Availability of land globally to cultivate food has grown marginally due to the increase in global population. The availability of land available per person to grow food has declined from 1.30 hectares in 1967 to 0.72 hectares in 2007 5 . Therefore, a clear dearth in agricultural land is a deterrent to future agriculture.
  • Water : The world comprises of 70% freshwater resources, available from river and groundwater. Deficiency of freshwater has been growing as usage of water has increased more than twice the rate of population growth 6 . As water is required for irrigation purposes, water availability to is not equally distributed around the world. Therefore, reduced water supply would limit the per capita production of food.
  • Energy : Globally, the scarcity of the non-renewable resources of energy is another concern. The global demand for energy is expected to double by 2050, consequently increasing energy prices 7 . Therefore, food production for the future will have to devise a technology based on renewable sources of energy.

The question of sustainability in agriculture arose due to some pressing issues that have limited the utilization of erstwhile processes and technologies for food production. However, it should be noted that sustainable agriculture does not prescribe any set rule or technology for the production process, rather shows a way towards sustainability 8 .

Sustainable agriculture uses best management practice by adhering to target-oriented cultivation. The agriculture process looks at disease-oriented hybrid, pest control through use of biological insecticides and low usage of chemical pesticide and fertilizer. Usually, insect-specific pest control is used, which is biological in nature.

Water given to the crops is through micro-sprinklers which help is directly watering the roots of the plants, and not flooding the field completely. The idea is to manage the agricultural land for both plants and animal husbandry.

For instance, in many southwestern parts of Florida’s citrus orchards, areas meant for water retention and forest areas become a natural habitat for birds and other animals 9 . The process uses integrated pest management that helps in reducing the amount of pesticide used in cultivation.

Sustainable agriculture adopts green technology as a means of reducing wastage of non-renewable energy and increase production. In this respect, the sustainable agricultural technology is linked to the overall developmental objective of the nation and is directly related to solving socio-economic problems of the nation 10 .

The UN report states, “The productivity increases in possible through environment-friendly and profitable technologies.” 11 In order to understand the technology better, one must realize that the soil’s health is crucial for cultivation of crops.

Soil is not just another ingredient for cultivation like pesticides or fertilizers; rather, it is a complex and fragile medium that must be nurtured to ensure higher productivity 12 . Therefore, the health of the soil can be maintained using eco-friendly methods:

Healthy soil, essential to agriculture, is a complex, living medium. The loose but coherent structure of good soil holds moisture and invites airflow. Ants (a) and earthworms (b) mix the soil naturally. Rhizobium bacteria (c) living in the root nodules of legumes (such as soybeans) create fixed nitrogen, an essential plant nutrient.

Other soil microorganisms, including fungi (d), actinomycetes (e) and bacteria (f), decompose organic matter, thereby releasing more nutrients. Microorganisms also produce substances that help soil particles adhere to one another. To remain healthy, soil must be fed organic materials such as various manures and crop residues. 13

This is nothing but a broader term to denote environment-friendly solutions to agricultural production. Therefore, the technology-related issue of sustainable agriculture is that it should use such technology that allows usage of renewable sources of energy and is not deterrent to the overall environment.

The politics around sustainable agriculture lies in the usage of the renewable sources of energy and disciplining of the current consumption rates 14 . The politics related to the sustainable agriculture is also related to the politics of sustainable consumption.

Though there is a growing concern over depleting food for the future and other resources, there is hardly any measure imposed by the governments of developed and emerging economies to sustain the consumption pattern of the population 15 .

The advocates of green politics believe that a radical change of the conventional agricultural process is required for bringing forth sustainable agriculture 16 . Green politics lobbies for an integrated farming system that can be the only way to usher in sustainable agricultural program 17 .

Sustainable agriculture is the way to maintain a parity between the increasing pressure of food demand and food production in the future. As population growth, change in income demographics, and food preference changes, there are changes in the demand of food of the future population.

Further, changes in climate and increasing concern regarding the depletion of non-renewable sources of energy has forced policymakers and scientists to device another way to sustain the available resources as well as continue meeting the increased demand of food.

Sustainable agriculture is the method through which these problems can be overlooked, bringing forth a new integrated form of agriculture that looks at food production in a holistic way.

Batie, S. S., ‘Sustainable Development: Challenges to Profession of Agricultural Economics’, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, vol. 71, no. 5, 1989: 1083-1101.

Dobson, A., The Politics of Nature: Explorations in Green Political Theory, Psychology Press, London, 1993.

Leaver, J. D., ‘Global food supply: a challenge for sustainable agriculture’, Nutrition Bulletin, vol. 36 , 2011: 416-421.

Martens, S., & G. Spaargaren, ‘The politics of sustainable consumption: the case of the Netherlands’, Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy, vol.1 no. 1, 2005: 29-42.

Morris, C., & M. Winter, ‘Integrated farming systems: the third way for European agriculture?’, Land Use Policy, vol. 16, no. 4, 1999: 193–205.

Reganold, J. P., R. I. Papendick, & J. F. Parr, ‘Sustainable Agriculture’, Scientific American , 1990: 112-120.

Townsend, C., ‘ Technology for Sustainable Agriculture. ‘ Florida Gulf Coast University, 1998. Web.

United Nations, ‘ Green technology for sustainable agriculture development ‘, United Nations Asian And Pacific Centre For Agricultural Engineering And Machinery, 2010. Web.

—, ‘ Sustainable agriculture key to green growth, poverty reduction – UN officials ‘, United Nations, 2011. Web.

1 United Nations, Sustainable agriculture key to green growth, poverty reduction – UN officials, UN News Centre, 2011.

2 J. D. Leaver, ‘Global food supply: a challenge for sustainable agriculture’, Nutrition Bulletin , vol. 36, 2011, pp. 416-421.

3 Leaver, p. 417.

5 Leaver, p. 418.

7 Leaver, p. 419.

8 J. N. Pretty, ‘Participatory learning for sustainable agriculture’, World Development , vol. 23, no. 8, 1995, pp. 1247-1263.

9 Chet Townsend, ‘Technology for Sustainable Agriculture’, Florida Gulf Coast University , 1998.

10 United Nations, ‘Green technology for sustainable agriculture development’, United Nations Asian And Pacific Centre For Agricultural Engineering And Machinery , 2010.

11 United Nations, p. 17.

12 J. P. Reganold, R. I. Papendick, & J. F. Parr, ‘Sustainable Agriculture’, Scientific American , 1990, pp. 112-120.

13 Regnold et al., p. 112.

14 S. S. Batie, ‘Sustainable Development: Challenges to Profession of Agricultural Economics’, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, vol. 71, no. 5, 1989, pp. 1083-1101.

15 S. Martens & G. Spaargaren, ‘The politics of sustainable consumption: the case of the Netherlands’, Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy , vol.1 no. 1, 2005, pp. 29-42.

16 A. Dobson, The Politics of Nature: Explorations in Green Political Theory , Psychology Press, London, 1993, p. 82.

17 C .Morris & M. Winter, ‘Integrated farming systems: the third way for European agriculture?’, Land Use Policy , vol. 16, no. 4, 1999, pp. 193–205.

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National Academies Press: OpenBook

Science Breakthroughs to Advance Food and Agricultural Research by 2030 (2019)

Chapter: 1 introduction, 1 introduction, 1. background.

For nearly a century, scientific advances have fueled progress in U.S. agriculture. As one of the most productive sectors of the U.S. economy, producers have achieved dramatic increases in output with simultaneously reduced inputs (such as land, labor, and chemicals) ( Wang et al., 2018 ). Today’s farmers produce food for far more people using less land than in previous generations due to yield gains from advances in plant and animal breeding, mechanization, agricultural chemicals, and irrigation, among other improvements to agricultural production ( Clancy et al., 2016 ). These advances have been the direct result of sustained historical investments in food and agricultural research, providing substantial social return on public investment with an estimated marginal payoff of $32.1 per dollar invested ( Alston et al., 2011 ). Food and agricultural innovations have enabled the delivery of safe and abundant food domestically and supported a trade surplus in bulk and high-value agricultural commodities ( USDA-ERS, 2018 ).

In the near future, the strength and responsiveness of the U.S. food and agricultural system will be tested. Recent analyses have warned that as a consequence of the growing world population, agricultural production worldwide will have collective difficulty in meeting the global demand for food and fiber ( Valin et al., 2014 ). Achieving the higher level of productivity needed—itself a formidable task—will not be sustainable without innovative solutions to challenges posed by shortages of arable land and water, the degradation of ecosystems, and the negative impacts of climate change.

Several scientific groups have issued reports that describe these chal-

lenges in the context of the U.S. food and agricultural system and have identified opportunities to address them relative to the potential contributions of specific disciplinary or agency missions (see Box 1-1 ). This report builds on the opportunities identified in those reports and many others, including the White House report on U.S. Agricultural Preparedness and the Agri-

cultural Research Enterprise ( PCAST, 2012 ) and the National Research Council reports A New Biology for the 21st Century ( NRC, 2009 ); Toward Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the 21st Century ( NRC, 2010 ); Convergence: Facilitating Transdisciplinary Integration of Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering, and Beyond ( NRC, 2014 ); and Critical Role of Animal Science Research in Food Security and Sustainability ( NRC, 2015 ). From the perspective of addressing the biggest problems facing the U.S. food and agricultural system, this report explores the availability of relatively new scientific tools emerging across all disciplines that could benefit the food and agricultural disciplines. This report identifies the most promising scientific breakthroughs with the potential to have the greatest impact on food and agriculture and that are possible to achieve in the next decade.


2.1 global food system.

The United States is a critical player in the global food system and is expected to be competitive in the global marketplace. A major challenge for the future is the increasing worldwide demand for food, fuel, and fiber that comes with a global population expected to reach 8.6 billion by 2030 and 9.8 billion people by 2050 ( UN DESA, 2017 ). To meet demand in 2050, published estimates of required percentage increases in food production range from 25 to 110 percent, based partially on date of publication but also on parameters assessed, which reflect the very complex nature of the food system ( Tilman et al., 2011 ; OECD-FAO, 2012 ; Ray et al., 2013 ; Valin et al., 2014 ; Hunter et al., 2017 ). Planning for the lower estimates could prove disastrous if the higher estimates turn out to be more accurate. Total production of meat products will need to increase worldwide by 70 percent to meet the needs of a growing global middle class with an increasing desire for animal-source foods ( Robinson and Pozzi, 2011 ). The United States has expanded agricultural and food production and exports to help meet the demand for increased food production. Many U.S. farmers depend on export markets to expand the demand for products and support production at scales sufficient to cover costs. Similarly, the ability to export animal products, which requires freedom from reportable diseases, opens markets for U.S. production. Expanded markets for plant and animal products allow for increased scale and specialization to take advantage of new market opportunities, both of which can have a positive effect for agricultural and food producers and consumers and the overall economy. At the same time, the expanding global economy calls for increased preparation to address possible threats from abroad, including foreign animal

diseases, plant pathogens, invasive pests, and trade disruptions. Increased trade and changes in the agricultural and food sector are likely to have winners and losers. It will be essential to understand the increasingly global markets, account for costs of transitions to markets and new technologies, and develop appropriate mechanisms to account for changes to support a sustainable and resilient food and agricultural system.

2.2 Plateau in Productivity

Worldwide demand for agricultural products will continue to increase, but it will become increasingly more difficult to meet those demands in the future due to an impending U.S. productivity plateau ( Andersen et al., 2018 ). Improvements in yield potential for grain are already near their theoretical upper limit ( Ort et al., 2015 ). Yield curves (particularly of cereal crops) are beginning to level off in some regions: approximately 30 percent of global rice, wheat, and maize production might have reached their maximum possible yields in farmers’ fields ( Grassini et al., 2013 ), and yields for rice, wheat, maize, and soybeans across 24-39 percent of the world show yields that never improve, stagnate, or collapse ( Ray et al., 2012 ). For example, yield stagnation is occurring in the main cereal-growing areas across China, with rice yields stagnating in 53.9 percent of the counties tracked in the study, followed by 42.4 percent for maize, and 41.9 percent for wheat ( Wei et al., 2015 ). The stagnation of productivity growth of the world’s major crops ( Ray et al., 2012 ; Grassini et al., 2013 ; Ort et al., 2015 ) serves as a warning sign that current methods for increasing crop productivity can only be exploited to a certain point, and new methods will be required to address the need for increased productivity.

2.3 Food Waste and Food Safety

On the flip side of productivity concerns is the problem of food waste. Refrigeration is considered one of the most important historical breakthroughs in agriculture because it reduces food spoilage and waste and it enhances food safety. However, further innovation to reduce and repurpose food waste is needed because the United States wastes approximately $278 billion annually, which is enough to feed nearly 260 million people ( Buzby et al., 2014 ; Bellemare et al., 2017 ). Accounting for resource use and efficiencies within a systems context can help to identify opportunities for optimal waste management. Producers also need to focus on food safety, given that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that foodborne diseases cause approximately 47.8 million illnesses, more than 125,000 hospitalizations, and about 3,000 deaths in the United States each year ( Scallan et al., 2011a , b ).

2.4 Resource and Environmental Constraints

Available land, water, and fertile soil are increasingly limited resources that will constrain the ability to improve productivity using today’s production methods. Pushing resources past their limits risks permanent damage to the resources and to the surrounding ecosystem. The use of resource-intensive, high-input farming across the world has caused soil depletion, water scarcities, widespread deforestation, and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions ( FAO, 2017 ). Groundwater pumping for agriculture in California has caused land sinkage, aquifer compaction, and earthquakes ( Sneed and Brandt, 2015 ; Kraner et al., 2018 ). If current water use continues, the Ogallala Aquifer, which serves 30 percent of U.S. irrigation needs, will be 60 percent depleted by 2060 ( Steward et al., 2013 ).

Although some farm practices, such as conservation tillage and no-till cropping, have been partly effective at reducing erosion ( Nearing et al., 2017 ), soil loss continues. In 2012, an estimated 6 tons per acre of soil (roughly 1 percent of soil per acre) were lost from Iowa cropland alone, polluting rivers and streams with sediments and fertilizers. Sediment removal from waterways alone costs more than $40 billion per year ( ASPB, 2013 ). Biotic natural resources are also at risk. The loss of native pollinators for reasons not entirely understood, together with the problems facing managed colonies of European honeybees, is estimated to cost $24 billion in lost yields annually ( White House, 2014 ).

Global climate change adds to the challenges for the U.S. food and agricultural system. For most crops and livestock, the effects of climate change on U.S. agriculture will be increasingly negative as variable and extreme weather events, elevated temperatures, shifting rainfall patterns, prolonged dry periods, and other climate changes affect yields, with impacts varying depending on location and crop ( Hatfield et al., 2014 ). In 2017, climate-related disasters in the United States included droughts, floods, freezes, wildfires, and hurricanes, which resulted in more than $5 billion in agricultural losses ( NCEI, 2018 ). Climate stresses along with the recent emergence of new pests and diseases—such as citrus greening and new strains of viruses affecting swine and poultry—are imposing new demands on the nation’s scientific capacities.

2.5 Changing Consumer Needs

Domestically, consumer food preferences are changing. Consumers are more acutely aware of food choices impacting their health and the environment, and large retailers are responding by distinguishing their products in the marketplace and emphasizing values such as sustainability, animal welfare, and treatment of labor in their supply chains. There is a national

interest in creating market opportunities for producers to increase healthful, diverse, and affordable food choices. Consumer advocates in public health seek healthier food, citing the poor diets of Americans as one of the preventable causes of chronic disease that accounts for hundreds of billions of dollars in annual health care costs ( CDC, 2017 ).

2.6 Declining Public Funding

The success of U.S. agriculture to date is in large part attributable to a foundation of basic and applied knowledge built in the past century by the land grant university system, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other federal agencies. Publicly funded research, which has produced many significant advances in agriculture, has diminished in the past 10 years due to sharp declines in the share of public investments in food and agricultural research. From 2003 to 2013, the budget for U.S. agricultural research and development (R&D) fell from $6.0 billion to $4.5 billion ( Clancy et al., 2016 ). During the same period, private-sector funding increased by 64 percent, overtaking publicly funded research in 2010 dollars (see Figure 1-1 ). Both public and private funding would show even slower growth since 2009 (and even a decline for public investment) when dollars are indexed to account for the real costs of research ( Heisey and Fuglie, 2018 ). Historically, public funding to the agricultural sector has tended to focus on advances in science and innovation, while private-sector funding has aimed at commercially useful production processes and products ( Clancy et al., 2016 ; Heisey and Fuglie, 2018 ). Evidence today indicates that the two funding streams are to be viewed as complementary in the U.S. agricultural innovation system and private-sector investment does not crowd out public investment, especially in the United States ( Wang et al., 2013 ; Fuglie and Toole, 2014 ; Clancy et al., 2016 ; Heisey and Fuglie, 2018 ). There is evidence, however, that public and private investments tend to go toward different sectors in research. Private research and development spending has leveraged the public research and focused on areas of commercially useful technologies that are easy to patent and protect with intellectual property protection and offer greater profit opportunities for investors. Sectors with relatively high private investment in research include food and feed manufacturing, plant systems and crop protection (especially genetically modified crops, agricultural chemicals), farm machinery and engineering, and animal health (especially veterinary pharmaceuticals) ( Clancy et al., 2016 ).

Interest in growing consumer demand for new and diverse products, in applications of biotechnology and information sciences, and in intellectual property right protection has spurred more rapid increases in private investment ( Heisey and Fuglie, 2018 ). However, recent mergers in some


agricultural industries (e.g., seed and agricultural chemicals) have led to concerns about the potential for placing farmers at a disadvantage through higher input prices, reliance on existing supply networks or technical ties to related products from the input suppliers, and for dampening incentives for the private firms to innovate ( Wang et al., 2013 ; MacDonald, 2017 ). The trend of declining public research funding is concerning because it has negative implications for generating foundational research that is critical for science breakthroughs.


Major scientific advances in the past decade have paved the way for new opportunities in food and agriculture. For instance, molecular biology has provided substantial advances over the past two decades that enable more precise and diverse changes in crops. These capabilities allow for the development of new food sources and traits that increase resistance to a broader array of insect pests and diseases; increase yields, nutrient-use, and water-use efficiencies; and increase the ability to withstand weather extremes. Knowledge of plants and their associated microbes at the eco-

system level (the phytobiome) also holds promise for innovation. New technologies, innovations, and insights from fields outside of mainstream agricultural disciplines are also empowering producers. In 2016, farmers accounted for approximately 19 percent of commercially used unmanned aerial vehicles (also known as drones), because they are seeking cost-effective ways to identify disease and weeds and determine field conditions ( Hogan et al., 2017 ; Hunt and Daughtry, 2017 ). Nanotechnology offers improved capabilities to (1) sense and monitor physical, chemical, or biological properties and processes (to ultimately improve the sustainability of food production); (2) control microbes (to improve food safety and minimize food waste); and (3) create new materials (to monitor and improve animal health) ( Rodrigues et al., 2017 ). Poultry producers are implementing computerized approaches such as artificial intelligence to fine-tune their strategies for feeding chickens and monitoring their health while reducing labor and feeding costs ( Ahmed, 2011 ; Hepworth et al., 2012 ). Certified-organic lettuce is being grown in soil-free systems in urban and peri-urban environments ( Dewey, 2017 ), and the number of local farmers’ markets across the nation continues to grow ( Low et al., 2015 ). Food and agricultural research advances will need to integrate innovations to simultaneously address water scarcity, soil health, food waste, pests and diseases, climate variability, and overall system sustainability.

The research directions described in this report depend on assimilating cutting-edge developments from allied fields—such as computing, information science, machine learning, materials science and electronics, genomics and gene editing, and behavioral and cognitive science—to achieve solutions to overarching and complex problems faced by agriculture. Leveraging the advances from other disciplines implies a need for the food and agricultural sciences to attract and train research talent in those areas. Some of the research approaches identified focus on systems-level discovery that will require regional or national cooperation and planning, in addition to a multidisciplinary effort. If successful, these systems approaches will produce essential information that will be the basis for new knowledge to inform decision making at different scales and tools to implement those decisions.


The trends described in the foregoing section set the stage for the interest of the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation, in partnership with the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), along with professional societies, commodity groups, and farmer organizations to propose the need for a strategic vision from the agricultural science community that articulates the greatest opportunities within the field, and the potential pathways that will lead to a new generation of scientific

advancement. The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Energy all agreed to support an endeavor of this nature in conjunction with the SoAR Foundation, FFAR, and their other partners. There has been a collective interest in an exercise that might begin a tradition of a “decadal survey” for food and agriculture in laying out research priorities, a long-standing practice used in some fields of science to guide the programmatic focus of federal research agencies in 10-year increments. With decadal surveys being instrumental to fields such as space studies in prioritizing research needs for the next 10 years, the intent is that a study such as this would be useful in informing strategic planning and discussions on food and agricultural research.

Responding to the call for such a study, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies) convened an ad hoc study committee to provide a broad new vision for food and agricultural research by outlining the most promising science breakthroughs over the next decade (see the Statement of Task in Box 1-2 ).


5.1 committee and information-gathering meetings.

The National Academies convened a committee of 13 experts with collective expertise and experience in various disciplines. The collective expertise of the committee allowed it to address plants, animals, microbes, food science, food safety, human nutrition, soil, water, climate, ecology, pests, and pathogens, as well as landscape and/or watershed systems, agricultural economics, transdisciplinary fields (sustainability, biodiversity), and emerging technological applications at the frontiers of agriculture (nanotechnology, biotechnology, remote sensing, data mining, machine learning, modeling, robotics) (see Appendix A for the biographical sketches of the committee members).

The committee held several meetings and webinars as part of the information-gathering process (see Appendix B for the open session meeting agendas). A broad solicitation was initially sent to scientific societies and stakeholder groups asking individuals to identify research that would advance science and promote solutions and opportunities in food and agriculture, with the responses viewable on IdeaBuzz, an interactive online discussion platform (see Appendix C for the IdeaBuzz submission contributors and a summary of the ideas submitted). Based on some of those responses, the committee identified focal areas of research and invited a large panel of experts to assist the committee at a 3-day public meeting in describing major opportunities to advance science, identify knowledge gaps, prioritize research barriers to overcome, and articulate a strategy for moving forward (see Appendix B for the “Jamboree” agenda and meeting participants). It was recognized early on that a transdisciplinary approach was needed to address the complexities and interdependencies of the food and agricultural system; thus, a diverse community of scientists was invited from both the traditional agricultural disciplines and allied fields.

As part of its charge from the sponsors, the following criteria were provided to assist the committee in identifying the most promising scientific breakthroughs in food and agriculture:

  • An emphasis on identifying transformational research opportunities to address key challenges in food and agriculture;
  • Recognition that the complexity of most food and agriculture challenges requires transdisciplinary and integrated approaches to the development of lasting solutions;
  • The value of harnessing insights from the frontiers of scientific disciplines and communities not traditionally associated with food and agriculture;
  • The importance of involving stakeholders of all kinds in the process and of raising public awareness of the meaning and significance of this scientific discussion; and
  • A compressed time frame (relative to typical decadal surveys) to draw together diverse communities, explore ideas, analyze proposed goals, and produce consensus recommendations for the strategy.

5.2 Scope of the Charge

The committee recognized early on that it had to place limitations on the scope of its study. The food and agricultural system encompasses everything from production through processing and distribution, and it would have been impossible to examine and address all aspects of the system in this report. Instead, the committee focused its efforts on parts of the system that require attention and are challenging yet hold the most promising opportunities for scientific breakthroughs in the near future. This report is not intended to provide a roadmap to span the entire spectrum of food and agricultural research, but rather to suggest a strategy to capitalize on several key potential science breakthroughs for transformational change.

By identifying the most challenging issues in food and agriculture, the committee delineated boundaries for the study and determined that certain areas were outside the scope of consideration for science breakthroughs. These include topics such as biodiversity, biofuels, food distribution and equity, food access and insecurity, and fundamental human nutrition science. For areas such as human nutrition and obesity, the committee did not attempt to address those topics because other groups have already described strategies and roadmaps for nutrition research ( ICHNR, 2016 ); however, the committee acknowledges that a diverse, nutritious food supply is an integral goal of the food and agricultural system. Also, the committee recognizes that the U.S. food system exists in a global context, but limited its focus to U.S. issues for determining priority areas and targeting its recommendations to U.S. researchers, policy makers, and stakeholders.

6. GOALS FOR 2030

In looking toward the next decade, the committee identified major goals for food and agricultural research to include (1) improving the efficiency of food and agricultural systems, (2) increasing the resiliency of agricultural systems to adapt to rapid changes and extreme conditions, and (3) increasing the sustainability of agriculture. Efficiency (specifically, technical and allocative efficiency) refers to the ability to obtain a maximum level of output from available inputs (resources such as energy, water, labor, and capital) and at lowest possible cost ( Wang et al., 2015 ; Shumway et al., 2016 ). Resilience is defined as “the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and successfully adapt to adverse events” ( NRC, 2012 ; p. 1). It may refer to the viability and adaptability of individual plant and animal species that are cultivated and consumed by human populations, and it may also describe certain properties of the food system as a whole. Sustainability refers to the ability to meet society’s need for food without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs ( UC Davis, 2018 ). More specifically, USDA defines sustainable agriculture as

an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will over the long-term: (1) satisfy human food and fiber needs; (2) enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agriculture economy depends; (3) make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls; (4) sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and (5) enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole. (U.S. Code Title 7, Section 3103)

Integrating approaches and technologies across various disciplines is essential, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality and increasing the quantity of food to sustainably meet our needs.

To achieve the major goals of efficiency, resiliency, and sustainability, improvements are needed to address the most challenging issues across the food system. The most challenging issues were derived from the common nature of important research challenges identified by food and agricultural scientists and reiterated by the committee, and include the following:

  • increasing nutrient use efficiency in crop production systems;
  • reducing soil loss and degradation;
  • mobilizing genetic diversity for crop improvement;
  • optimizing water use in agriculture;
  • improving food animal genetics;
  • developing precision livestock production systems;
  • early and rapid detection and prevention of plant and animal diseases;
  • early and rapid detection of foodborne pathogens; and
  • reducing food loss and waste throughout the supply chain.


This report identifies opportunities to boost the performance of the U.S. food and agricultural system, reduce its impact on the environment, help it expand in new directions, and increase its resilience in the face of environmental uncertainty. Based on the previously noted challenge areas, the committee explores seven specific areas in which such advances could be made:

  • Crops ( Chapter 2 )—The advent of more precise gene-editing technologies opens new avenues for achieving the goals of increasing crop productivity while decreasing inputs and improving resilience. The chapter discusses the need for new traits, facile transformation technology, and dynamic crops where responses to environmental challenges can be turned on or off.
  • Animal Agriculture ( Chapter 3 )—Decades of R&D have dramatically improved the efficiency of animal production over the past century, but additional investment is critical to sustainably address the expected twofold increase in animal products. The chapter also examines issues related to animal health well-being and animal-source food alternatives.
  • Food Science and Technology ( Chapter 4 )—The postharvest food sector ensures that raw agricultural products are converted to a safe, nutritious, sustainable, and affordable food supply that is readily available to all. This chapter examines issues related to protecting and enhancing food quality, safety, and appeal while simultaneously reducing food loss and waste.
  • Soils ( Chapter 5 )—Maintaining and properly managing fertile soils is a critical need to ensure agricultural productivity. This chapter discusses soil sustainability, soil quality, nutrient availability, and the soil microbiome.
  • Water-Use Efficiency and Productivity ( Chapter 6 )—Fresh water is a finite resource. Meeting increasing demands for food, fuel, and fiber can only be accomplished with increased water efficiency. This chapter examines opportunities to improve the use of data analytics, improve plant and soil properties, and capitalize on the use of controlled environments for agriculture.
  • Data Science ( Chapter 7 )—Data science can be better harnessed to improve aspects of the food system. This chapter examines the opportunities and advancements in data science and information technologies on the horizon for the food and agricultural sectors.
  • A Systems Approach ( Chapter 8 )—The food system operates in the context of a complex system with many actors and components. This chapter examines the need for better understanding of the various systems and components as they relate to a functional food and agricultural enterprise.

The final chapter ( Chapter 9 ) presents the strategy for 2030 along with the five breakthrough areas and the overarching study recommendations. Chapter 9 also discusses crosscutting issues for future consideration, including research infrastructure, societal dynamics, and education and workforce needs.

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For nearly a century, scientific advances have fueled progress in U.S. agriculture to enable American producers to deliver safe and abundant food domestically and provide a trade surplus in bulk and high-value agricultural commodities and foods. Today, the U.S. food and agricultural enterprise faces formidable challenges that will test its long-term sustainability, competitiveness, and resilience. On its current path, future productivity in the U.S. agricultural system is likely to come with trade-offs. The success of agriculture is tied to natural systems, and these systems are showing signs of stress, even more so with the change in climate.

More than a third of the food produced is unconsumed, an unacceptable loss of food and nutrients at a time of heightened global food demand. Increased food animal production to meet greater demand will generate more greenhouse gas emissions and excess animal waste. The U.S. food supply is generally secure, but is not immune to the costly and deadly shocks of continuing outbreaks of food-borne illness or to the constant threat of pests and pathogens to crops, livestock, and poultry. U.S. farmers and producers are at the front lines and will need more tools to manage the pressures they face.

Science Breakthroughs to Advance Food and Agricultural Research by 2030 identifies innovative, emerging scientific advances for making the U.S. food and agricultural system more efficient, resilient, and sustainable. This report explores the availability of relatively new scientific developments across all disciplines that could accelerate progress toward these goals. It identifies the most promising scientific breakthroughs that could have the greatest positive impact on food and agriculture, and that are possible to achieve in the next decade (by 2030).


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Indigenous Agricultural Knowledge Towards Achieving Sustainable Agriculture

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essay on scientific knowledge and agricultural production 300 words

  • Anwesha Borthakur 7 &
  • Pardeep Singh 8  

Part of the book series: Sustainable Agriculture Reviews ((SARV,volume 50))

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With modernization of agriculture comes the downside of intense application of pesticides, weedicides, fertilizers etc. It is widely accepted that such practices in the long run do pose major challenges to sustainable agriculture. Indigenous agricultural knowledge has the potential to provide a viable alternative here. This knowledge is the product of hundreds of years of experiences of the farmers and their experiments with nature. Such knowledge evolves gradually over the years through constant engagement with the natural processes, passes across generations, and thus, integrates the agro-climatic factors of a particular geographical area.

In this chapter, we primarily attempt to rationalize the significance of indigenous agricultural knowledge in the present-day context. The concept of indigenous people, indigenous knowledge and indigenous agricultural knowledge are reviewed. The significance of indigenous agricultural knowledge in achieving the much talked about sustainable development goals are discussed. Its role in managing the contaminants from agro-ecosystems and ensuring sustainable yield are assessed in detail with a few empirical evidences of successful cases. We propose that an integration of indigenous agricultural knowledge with modern scientific knowledge has immense potential towards ensuring sustainable agriculture.

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The authors are grateful to Ms. Nizara Phukon for the photos of the ‘ Bari ’ system of farming.

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Anwesha Borthakur

Department of Environmental Science, PGDAV College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India

Pardeep Singh

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Department of Botany, Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, Institute of Science, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Vipin Kumar Singh

Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Rishikesh Singh

Aix Marseille University, CNRS, IRD, INRAE, Coll France, CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence, France

Eric Lichtfouse

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Borthakur, A., Singh, P. (2021). Indigenous Agricultural Knowledge Towards Achieving Sustainable Agriculture. In: Kumar Singh, V., Singh, R., Lichtfouse, E. (eds) Sustainable Agriculture Reviews 50. Sustainable Agriculture Reviews, vol 50. Springer, Cham.

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Essay on Agriculture

Agriculture is one of the most commonly heard words. It’s the most vital practice for the survival of humans. Farmers are considered to be the backbone of agriculture and food production. The food we eat at home, the fruits and vegetables, have a long backstory to them, which in simpler words, can be attributed to agriculture. The following essay comprises fascinating insight into agriculture, its definition, the process and challenges, which can help you in your projects and assignments.

100 Word Essay on Agriculture

200 word essay on agriculture, 500 word essay on agriculture.

Essay on Agriculture

Agriculture is the art of practising soil cultivation, producing crops, and raising livestock. It involves the production of plants and animals for food, fibre, and other products. Agriculture plays a critical role in our lives for several reasons. Firstly, it provides food for people and animals. Without agriculture, we would not have access to the diverse and nutritious diet we enjoy today. Secondly, agriculture provides raw materials for various products, including clothing, medicine, and building materials.

The existence of humans would have been very critical if we hadn’t developed the practice of agriculture.

Agriculture refers to the process of cultivating crops for food, fuel, and other products. It is a crucial part of human civilisation, as it allows us to produce the food and essential items we need for survival.

Types Of Agriculture | The many types of agriculture range from small-scale subsistence farming to large-scale commercial operations. In subsistence farming, farmers grow enough food in small fields or house backyards to feed their families and may sell any excess produce at local markets. In commercial agriculture, farmers grow crops or raise animals on a larger scale, on larger pieces of land, to sell their products to large-scale consumers.

Impact Of Agriculture | Agriculture plays a vital role in the global economy, providing food and other products for people worldwide. It is also an important source of income and survival for many people, particularly in rural areas. However, agriculture can also have negative impacts on the environment. Some farming practices can lead to soil erosion, pollution, and biodiversity loss. As a result, sustainable agriculture has become the need of the hour in recent years, with farmers adopting practices that can help protect the environment while still producing the food we need.

Agriculture refers to cultivating land and raising crops or livestock for sustenance or commercial purposes. It is a crucial part of human civilisation, providing food, raw materials, and essential commodities that support communities and economies worldwide.

Origins of Agriculture

The origins of agriculture can be traced back to the Neolithic period when humans first began domesticating plants and animals. This marked a significant shift in human history as people transitioned from a nomadic lifestyle to a more settled one, with the development of permanent settlements and the growth of complex societies.

Challengeso of Agriculture

Today, agriculture remains a crucial industry, providing food and other products for a growing global population. However, agriculture also has its challenges. Farming can negatively impact the environment, as it involves the use of large amounts of water, pesticides, and other resources and even the negative impacts of climate change. Climate change is impacting agriculture significantly, with extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, threatening crops and livestock.

What is Sustainable Agriculture?

Despite these challenges, agriculture continues to play a vital role worldwide. In recent years, there has been a focus on sustainable agriculture, which seeks to minimise the negative impact of farming on the environment while still providing food and other essential products for the global population.

My Visit to a Rice Farm

I n July’ 22, I visited a rice farm with my family while we were on a trip to the wedding of one of our close relatives. The farm belonged to my uncle, he gave us a tour of it and explained to us about the art of cultivation of rice and the process of how the rice we eat at her home every other day is cultivated.

What I Learnt | I saw how the water system works in the fields, how much manure, supplements and insecticides are used to keep the crops healthy, and how the storage system works, and I got to explore a lot more about agriculture. I saw how the water system works in the fields, how much manure, supplements and insecticides are used to keep the crops healthy, and how the storage system works, and I got to explore a lot more about agriculture.

How I Felt | It was my first-time visit to the farm, and being a person who has spent all his life living in the city, I was extremely surprised at how peaceful the farm ambience is and how much effort, time and love goes into cultivating crops. We eat fruits and vegetables every day but don't realise how complex and effortful the process of agriculture is.

In conclusion, agriculture is an essential part of human civilisation, providing the food and raw materials that support communities and economies worldwide. While there are challenges to be addressed, such as the impact on the environment and the effects of climate change, agriculture remains crucial to humanity's well-being, survival and future.

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Green Revolution Essay for Students and Children

Green revolution essay.

Green Revolution is actually the process of increasing agricultural production by using modern machines and techniques. It was a scientific research-based technology initiative performed between 1950 and the late 1960s, that increased agricultural production worldwide, particularly in the developing world, beginning most markedly in the late 1960s. It used HYV seeds, increased use of fertilizer and more technical methods of irrigation to increase the production of food grains.

green revolution essay

Green Revolution in India

In India Green Revolution commenced in the early 1960s that led to an increase in food grain production , especially in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. Major milestones in this undertaking were the development of high-yielding varieties of wheat. The Green revolution is revolutionary in character due to the introduction of new technology, new ideas, the new application of inputs like HYV seeds, fertilizers, irrigation water, pesticides, etc. As all these were brought suddenly and spread quickly to attain dramatic results thus it is termed as a revolution in green agriculture.

Statistical Results

A record grain output in 1978-79 around 131 million tons occurred due to the Green Revolution. Hence, it made India as one of the world’s biggest agricultural producer. In India Green Revolution recorded a high level of success. India also became an exporter of food grains around that time.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Economic Results

Crop areas under this project needed more water, more fertilizers , more pesticides, and certain other chemicals. This increased the growth of the local manufacturing sector. Increased industrial growth created new jobs and contributed to the country’s GDP . The increase in irrigation created the need for new dams to harness monsoon water. The stored water was used to create hydro-electric power. All of this resulted in industrial growth, created jobs and improved the quality of life of the people in villages.

Sociological Results

This new technology used frequent application of water, fertilizers, insecticides , larger volumes of transportation, electricity, etc. Not only the agricultural workers but also industrial workers got plenty of jobs because of the creation of facilities such as factories, hydro-electric power stations, etc. to back up the revolution.

Political Results

One of the most important factors that made Mrs. Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) and her party the Indian National Congress, a very powerful political force in India is this Green Revolution. India transformed itself from a starving nation to an exporter of food. This gave India admiration and appreciation from all over the world, especially from the Third world country.

Disadvantages of the Green Revolution

The negative social effect of the Revolution was also soon visible. Disparities in income have been widened by these innovations in agriculture. Rich landlords have control over the agricultural input and improved chemical fertilizers. The worst part is that the poor farmers found themselves handicapped by small farms of land and inadequate water supply. With complete agricultural techniques and inputs, the Green revaluation tended to have its most concentrated application on large farms.

As a concentration of the new technology to large farms, the Inequalities have further Increased. The poor farmers have been adversely affected by a growing tendency among the rich farmers to reclaim land previously leased out under tenancy agreement, which has been made profitable by higher returns from new technology.

The poor and backward class of farmers has been increasingly pushed into the rank of the landless laborer. A drastic increase in a higher level of rent with land value soaring. Also because of excessive use of fertilizers soil started to become alkaline or acidic depending upon the nature of the fertilizer used.

India has made a huge achievement in term of the Green Revolution, as it has provided an unprecedented level of food security. It has pulled a large number of poor people out of poverty and helped many non-poor people avoid the poverty and hunger they would have experienced had it not taken place. This revolution has saved over a billion people all over the world from famine.

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Home / Essay Samples / Science / Agriculture

Agriculture Essay Examples

Agriculture essays play a critical role in exploring the multifaceted world of farming, food production, and sustainable land management. The purpose of such essays is to raise awareness about the challenges and innovations in agriculture, discuss the impact of farming practices on the environment, and emphasize the role of agriculture in global food security. By shedding light on these crucial topics, these essays contribute to informed discussions, policy decisions, and efforts to ensure a sustainable future for agriculture and the planet.

Our site boasts a diverse array of essays about agriculture that encapsulate comprehensive analyses of farming practices, revolutionary agricultural innovations, and the pressing global challenges confronting the industry. Spanning from traditional cultivation methods to the dynamics of modern agribusiness, these essays provide profound insights that navigate the complexities of nourishing the world’s ever-growing population.

Understanding Sustainable Agriculture

Whether you’re crafting an essay about agriculture or seeking to comprehend the tenets of sustainable farming, our collection spans a wide spectrum of themes. Immerse yourself in essays that unravel concepts like organic farming, permaculture, agroforestry, and the indispensable significance of preserving biodiversity.

Uncover how agricultural sustainability takes on the mantle of addressing pressing concerns like food security, the transforming climate, and the ethical duty we bear towards future generations.

The Ecological Effect of Agriculture: Environment Problems and Their Solution

The ecological effect of agriculture is the impact that diverse cultivating rehearses have on the biological systems around them, and how those impacts can be followed back to those practices. The natural effect of agribusiness shifts dependent on the wide assortment of agrarian practices utilized...

Cultivating Life: the Evolution and Significance of Agriculture

In order to realize the importance of agrarian culture for humanity, it is necessary to begin with understanding the history of its appearance in society and what role it played - it will be considered in the importance of agriculture essay. Agriculture is a very...

Main Features Malthus' 'An Essay on the Principle of Population'

Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) was an English economist and politician. He was born in Surrey, in a family which belonged to a class of gentry, which was considered as rather high up in the social hierarchy of England at that time. He was educated at...

In Diamond's Opinion Hunter Gatherers Are the Worst Mistake

“The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race” by Jared Diamond discusses the processes we’ve taken throughout human history by hunting and gathering. The “simpler” way according to him is farming. He thinks of it as the “worst mistake (ever) made in human...

Impact of Chemicals on Agriculture: Norman Borlaug Vs Rachel Carson

In examining the article “Mankind and Civilization at Another Crossroad in Balance with Nature – A Biological Myth” by Norman Borlaug, he presented his main concerns centering on how environmentalists can oppose the use of agricultural chemicals. Borlaug provides feedback in response to the book...

Information & Communication Technology in Agriculture

Information and Communication Technology services provide access to the knowledge, information, and technology that farmers require to improve the productivity and to improve the quality of their lives and livelihoods. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) contains three main technologies Computer Technology Communication Technology Information Management...

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