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.