The new United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) Wake Up Before It’s Too Late: Make Agriculture Truly Sustainable Now for Food Security in a Changing Climate report has revealed how sustainable farming can reduce world hunger.
The report revealed that the price of food has increased by 80 per cent since 2008, while the fertilizer that we use has increased eight fold over the last 40 years.
However, over one billion people suffer from hunger, while another one billion are malnourished – even though food production can provide for a population of 12 to 14 billion people. Ironically, those who often go hungry are small scale farmers or agriculture labourers.
So why are those who work so close to food going hungry? Agricultural labourers usually work for industrial agriculturalists, where the pay is low and the food is not up for grabs, while mall scale farmers need to sell the food they grow in order to pay taxes.
The report also suggests that small scale farmers should be given rewards for their work, which preserves biodiversity and protects clean water. Essentially, smaller scale farms make sustainability a priority, because unlike industrial farmers, they can't just use up the land and then buy more.
The report urges that the sustainable outlook that small scale farmers have adopted is something we should all strive towards in order to limit hunger and increase food production. It also suggests that the environmental costs of industrial agriculture are not accounted for in environmental protection laws, so governments should ensure that food is grown where it is needed. That way it doesn't have to be persevered, processed and then travel massive distances.
So how can non-farmers make sustainability a priority at home?
Consumers can encourage sustainability by buying organically grown goods from local farmers. Money is the best encouragement for everyone, so while giving cash to industrial farmers encourages them to continue with their environmentally devastating processes, your money can encourage small scale farmers to continue with their sustainable farming practices.
This is a small step that has been growing in popularity, not just because it is good for the environment, but because the food produced tastes so much better too.