Sustainable Food and Agriculture

To be sustainable, agriculture must meet the needs of present and future generations, while ensuring profitability, environmental health, and social and economic equity. Sustainable food and agriculture (SFA) contributes to all four pillars of food security – availability, access, utilization and stability – and the dimensions of sustainability (environmental, social and economic). FAO promotes SFA to help countries worldwide achieve Zero Hunger and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Find out more about FAO’s vision for Sustainable Food and Agriculture.

Food and agriculture production systems worldwide are facing unprecedented challenges from an increasing demand for food for a growing population, rising hunger and malnutrition, adverse climate change effects, overexploitation of natural resources, loss of biodiversity, and food loss and waste. These challenges can undermine the world’s capacity to meet its food needs now and in the future. In other words, fewer people have adequate access to enough nutritious food. To find out more about the current state of food and nutrition security worldwide, visit www.fao.org/state-of-food-security-nutrition

Our current food and agriculture systems are failing to address the key challenges of our times, while millions still go hungry or malnourished. Achieving a level of production that meets our needs from an already seriously depleted natural resource base will be impossible without profound changes in our food and agriculture systems. We need to expand and accelerate the transition to sustainable food and agriculture which ensures world food security, provides economic and social opportunities, and protects the ecosystem services on which agriculture depends.

Agriculture and food systems are unsustainable if they fail to benefit those whose livelihoods depend on it, if these systems rely on outdated approaches and technologies, if access to resources, inputs and markets is limited, and if there are no decent job opportunities.

The transition to SFA requires immediate action. Countries and stakeholders can bring about change in a variety of ways. A selection of evidence-based, result-oriented initiatives is available in FAO’s 20 actions guidelines publication.

For more information about FAO’s 20 actions, read Transforming food and agriculture to achieve the SDGs: 20 interconnected actions to guide decision-makers.

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