Global Agricultural Land use trends have originated depending upon the problem we are facing and have to counter it. Several global trends are influencing food security and the overall sustainability of food and agricultural systems. The world’s population is expected to grow to almost 10 billion by 2050, boosting agricultural demand – in a scenario of modest economic growth – by some 50 percent compared to 2013. Income growth in low- and middle-income countries would hasten a dietary transition towards higher consumption of meat, fruits, and vegetables, relative to that of cereals, requiring commensurate shifts in output and adding pressure on natural resources.
Economic growth and population dynamics
The decline in agriculture share in total production and employment is taking place at different speeds and poses different challenges across regions. Although agricultural investments and technological innovations are boosting productivity, yields have slowed to rates that are too low for comfort. Food losses and waste claim a significant proportion of agricultural output, and reducing them would lessen the need for production increases. However, the needed acceleration in productivity growth is hampered by the degradation of natural resources, the loss of biodiversity, and the spread of transboundary pests and diseases of plants and animals, some of which are becoming resistant to antimicrobials.
Climate change disproportionately affects food-insecure regions, jeopardizing crop and livestock production, fish stocks, and fisheries.
Satisfying increased demands on agriculture with existing farming practices are likely to lead to more intense competition for natural resources, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and further deforestation and land degradation.
Hunger and extreme poverty
Yet, around 700 million people, most of them living in rural areas, are still extremely poor today. Besides, despite undeniable progress in reducing rates of undernourishment and improving levels of nutrition and health, almost 800 million people are chronically hungry, and 2 billion suffer micronutrient deficiencies. Under a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario, without additional efforts to promote pro-poor development, some 653 million people would still be undernourished in 2030. Even where poverty has been reduced, pervasive inequalities remain, hindering poverty eradication.
Critical parts of food systems are becoming more capital-intensive, vertically integrated, and concentrated in fewer hands.
This is happening from input provisioning to food distribution. Small-scale producers and landless households are the first to lose out and increasingly seek employment opportunities outside of agriculture. This is driving increased migratory flows, especially of male members of rural households, which is leading, in turn, to the ‘feminization’ of farming in many parts of the world.
Conflicts, crises, and natural disasters
They reduce food availability, disrupt access to food and health care, and undermine social protection systems, pushing many affected people back into poverty and hunger, fuelling distress migration, and increasing the need for humanitarian aid. Violent conflict also frequently characterizes protracted crises. On average, the proportion of undernourished people living in low-income countries with a protracted crisis is between 2.5 and 3 times higher than in other low-income countries.
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