Sustainable consumption and production

Agriculture and food systems are at the basis of food security. To be able to meet the challenges of sustainable growth, both will have to change. This will not be a simple task especially because of the scale of the transformation and the urgency.

Agriculture impacts more of the world's surface area than any other human activity and thus has a critical bearing on the natural environment. A transformation in agriculture is key to reduce deforestation and land degradation, improve water use efficiency, strengthen ecosystem resilience and reduce the adverse effects of agriculture on the climate.

Climate-smart agriculture provides an important part of the response to this challenge. Depending on the context, it can deliver multiple benefits such as more sustainable resource use, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, enhanced resilience and reduced food waste and losses, while at the same time increasing productivity and profits for farmers, small as well as large, and contributing to national food and nutrition security and development goals.

  • The total world land area suitable for cropping is at 4.4 billion hectares
  • Arable land per person is shrinking. It decreased from 0.38 hectares in 1970 to 0.23 hectares in 2000, with a projected decline to 0.15 hectares per person by 2050.
  • Agriculture withdraws 70 percent of water from aquifers, streams and lakes.
  • The total world crop output produced by rainfed agriculture systems is 60 percent.
  • Some 80 percent of the world's fish production is used for human consumption. The rest is mostly processed into fishmeal and fish oil. 
last updated:  Tuesday, June 5, 2012