Recognizing that a paradigm shift to the sustainable intensification of agricultural crop production is required to ensure future global food security, FAO has established the Programme on Sustainable Crop Production Intensification (SCPI). The Programme aims to find intensification solutions through an ecosystem approach, drawing on nature's contribution to crop growth with appropriate external inputs applied at the right time and in the right amount. This approach relies less on fossil fuel-based inputs, which reduces producers’ fuel costs and makes production more resilient to fluctuations in energy prices.
Lower energy consumption through sustainable intensification
Farming systems for sustainable crop production intensification are based on three technical principles:
FAO’s SCPI Programme works with Member States to:
All of these practices contribute to reducing the use of fossil fuels.
Soil tillage for land preparation is the single most energy-consuming operation in a cropping cycle. Reducing mechanical tillage can lower fossil fuel consumption and save costs and labour. For many years FAO has promoted conservation agriculture, which promotes zero tillage as a way of making agriculture both sustainable and profitable. The results from a study carried out from 1998 to 2003 on conservation agriculture at the smallholder level in Paraguay indicated that crop yields improved, while fertilizer, herbicide and fuel inputs were reduced.
Bioenergy crop production
The set of sustainability indicators for bioenergy developed by GBEP, with the contribution of FAO, provides useful tools to measure the sustainability of bioenergy crop production.
BEFS has compiled a set of good environmental practices that can be implemented by bioenergy feedstock producers so as to minimize the risk of negative environmental impacts from their operations, and to ensure that modern bioenergy delivers on its climate change mitigation potential.
last updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013