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Sustainable Food and Agriculture

FAO’s vision for Sustainable Food and Agriculture was developed in support to its Strategic Objective 2“Make agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and more sustainable”. It is a vision of a world in which food is nutritious and accessible for everyone and natural resources are managed in a way that maintain ecosystem functions to support current as well as future human needs. In this vision, farmers, pastoralists, fisher folks, foresters and other rural dwellers have the opportunity to actively participate in, and benefit from, economic development, have recent employment conditions and work in a fair price environment. Rural men, women, and communities live in security, and have control over their livelihoods and equitable access to resources which they use in an efficient way.

Background

Over the coming 35 years, agriculture will face an unprecedented confluence of pressures, including a 30 percent increase in the global population, intensifying competition for increasingly scarce land, water and energy resources, and the existential threat of climate change. 

To provide for a population projected to reach 9.3 billion in 2050 and support changing dietary patterns, estimates are that food production will need to increase from the current 8.4 billion tonnes to almost 13.5 billion tonnes a year. 

A common vision for Sustainable Food and Agriculture must equally address social, economic and environmental dimensions to ensure sustainability. Neglecting any one area jeopardizes the attainment of sustainability in others. The principles which can collectively guide the process of transition to greater sustainability are summarized as:

Improving efficiency in the use of resources is crucial to sustainable agriculture

Sustainability requires direct action to conserve, protect and enhance natural resources

Agriculture that fails to protect and improve rural livelihoods and social well-being is unsustainable

Enhanced resilience of people, communities and ecosystems is key to sustainable agriculture

Sustainable food and agriculture requires responsible and effective governance mechanisms

Working with countries to develop and apply these principles across food and agricultural production systems, FAO foresees national, regional and global systems that are socially, economically and environmentally more sustainable.

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