Cultivated renewable resources: Innovation, sustainable intensiﬁcation, and integrated landscape approaches Food production will need to increase by 75 percent between 2010 and 2050 to cope with rising demand caused by population and income growth and changes in the structure of demand. As incomes increase, demand for higher-value horticultural and livestock products is likely to increase by more than direct demand for staples; demand for livestock products will likely increase 85 percent between 2010 and 2030 (Foresight 2011). Yet hunger remains a challenge: 800 million people in the world remain food insecure. Improving agricultural productivity and access to food remain core elements of an inclusive growth agenda. For cultivated renewable resources, the main policy challenges are to support sustainable increases in productivity and resource-efficient production by focusing on innovation, increasing efficiency in input use, regulating pollution, and ensuring that smallholder farming more fully realizes its potential, especially in lower-income developing countries. In the future, a larger share of fish and wood products is likely to come from aquaculture and plantation forestry than from natural forests or wild fi sheries, further increasing the importance of sustainable management of cultivated renewable resources in meeting green growth objectives.
Agriculture, including livestock Agricultural production is strongly affected by how natural capital—especially energy, land, water, forest, marine, and coastal systems—is managed. Agriculture, including livestock, accounts for 70 percent of fresh water consumption and 40 percent of land area. Many agricultural systems depend heavily on fossil fuels for nitrogen fertilizer, crop husbandry, harvesting, transport, and pumping water for irrigation. Thus, food and fossil fuel energy prices are closely
linked. There are synergies and tradeoffs between maximizing production of food at low cost and conserving the environment. These synergies need to be maximized and the tradeoffs managed. Strategies in support of a green growth agenda for agriculture need to differentiate between agriculture-dependent, transitioning, and urbanized economies and between land and water–dependent and land and water–abundant ecosystems and countries. In agriculture-dependent countries, agricultural productivity and inclusive growth are closely related: GDP growth in these sectors is estimated to benefit the poor two to four times as much as GDP growth in other sectors (World Bank 2007a). Four elements may be considered in a green growth strategy for agriculture. Increasing productivity while improving land and water m an age me nt. Intensification—producing more with less— has been responsible for the dramatic rise in global cereal yields in recent decades. From 1960 to 2010, rice yields rose 250 percent (from 1.8 to nearly 4.5 tons per hectare [Dobermann and others 2008; International Rice Research Institute data]), while between 1965 and 2000 cultivated land area increased by just 20 percent (from 125 million to 150 million hectares [Khush and Virk 2005]). Attaining the same production increase with no growth in yields would have required increasing the area planted with rice to 300 million hectares, reducing further land availability for wetland or watershed protection functions. Extensive, poorly managed agricultural and grazing systems, often related to poverty and lack of access to fi nance or knowledge, contribute to the land degradation and loss of soil fertility described above. Sustainable intensification can protect biodiversity, reduce deforestation, save water, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By integrating improved land, soil, and water management measures into production systems, such intensive systems can also increase productivity while maintaining and even enhancing the value of natural capital.
Published on May 23, 2012
As the global population heads toward 9 billion by 2050, decisions made today will lock countries into growth patterns that may or may not b...