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How agriculture can respond to environmental issues and to the increasing of the population?

Analyse sectorielle : How agriculture can respond to environmental issues and to the increasing of the population?. Recherche parmi 298 000+ dissertations

Par   •  5 Novembre 2021  •  Analyse sectorielle  •  2 055 Mots (9 Pages)  •  346 Vues

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How agriculture can respond to environmental issues and to the increasing of the population?

“Live as though you’ll die tomorrow, but farm as though you’ll live forever”, this quote of John Marsden makes us aware of the importance of sustainability in agriculture. Agriculture is a set of practices which aims to produce food and other useful resources for societies. It is important to underline that by agriculture one takes into account at the same time the culture of plants but also the breeding. Agriculture is responsible for 24% of greenhouse gases. As John Marsden reminds us, agriculture is first and foremost a practice where good management must prevail. A farmer who does not allow his land to regenerate in order to make more profit condemns it to become unproductive and at the same time he condemns himself. If we take into account the increase in population it is obvious that agriculture has to change methods. Indeed, climate change is one of the major concerns of our century and agriculture cannot be exempt from questioning its functioning. However, this questioning must not come only from the agricultural world but also from the entire population. The increase in the latter must be accompanied by a change in death. Agricultural production is inequitably distributed on the planet. Some regions are starving while others waste their food excessively. We may wonder how agriculture can respond to environmental issues and the increase of the population? We will begin our study by taking stock of the current situation, then we will identify the various solutions, and finally we will focus on the difficulties of ecological transition.

The current situation is not sustainable in the long-term. Polluting practices are too often a norm in agriculture. Greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 8% every year for the past 10 years. One of the main causes of the emission of these greenhouse gases is the enteric fermentation of manure which alone accounts for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions. We must also not forget other pollution, which does not necessarily emit greenhouse gases but which are all equally dangerous for the environment. Chemical pesticides are a real danger to biodiversity, while they are known to be dangerous for pollinators, they also have other perverse effects. Indeed, plants accumulate them in their organism, which can have repercussions on the entire food chain. The phenomenon of bioaccumulation aggravates the problem because it consists of the absorption by soils of pesticides. The latter then remain for years in the soil even if they are no longer used by the farmer. Chemical fertilizers will also pollute the soil and water. All these sources of pollution lead to a decrease in soil fertility, a decrease that is not reversible in the short and medium terms. In addition, water pollution is found in lakes and rivers, and thus kills a number of aquatic living beings. Agriculture is therefore found to be the cause of a loss of biodiversity. A certain number of ecological practices will then emerge.

Traditional agriculture is being called into question by farmers wanting to use organic methods. Organic farming is the most widespread ecological practice. Organic farming consists of not using inputs or phytosanitary products from petrochemicals. It is important to note that apart from these exceptions many farms use the same methods as conventional farming. The global area cultivated organically (certified and in conversion) was estimated at nearly 69.9 million hectares at the end of 2017 , or 1.4% of all agricultural areas. If we can retort that this is an anecdotal proportion, it should be noted that on a global scale the area cultivated organically has multiplied by 4.5 between 2000 and 2017. Organic is therefore in full expansion. Some go beyond organic farming and use agroecology. The latter involves the use of a set of techniques that consider the farm as a whole. It is thanks to this systemic approach that agroecology maintains economic results, even improves them, while significantly improving environmental performance. To obtain results, agroecology adapts to each terrain using the most suitable method and infrastructure. If the progress of virtuous agriculture vis-à-vis the environment is good news, we must not forget that some do not have enough to eat.

Inequalities in access to food are one of the major problems of agriculture. According to an FAO report of July 13, 2020, nearly 690 million people are affected by hunger, or 8.9% of the world population in 2019. These figures have been increasing for several years and should be reinforced by the crisis of coronavirus. The most affected continents have Asia and Africa. It is therefore important to put this figure in parallel with the 20 to 30% of agricultural production that is wasted. More serious this mess is not only due to industrialized countries but also to post-harvest losses in developing countries. The latter are precisely affected by hunger. The increase in the African population is also a serious problem; in 2019 it reached 1.3 billion and according to the UN should reach 2.5 billion in 2050. This doubling in 30 years could suggest that it is impossible for Africa to achieve food security. However, Kevin Thomas , believes that new technologies could greatly increase food production. The environmental variable is not forgotten because these new technologies are for the most part respectful of the environment. Population growth is therefore an important agricultural challenge which must be reconciled with the emergence of a sustainable practice.

There are a number of practices that can improve the current situation. Changing the way, we consume is already an important step to take. Food waste is so significant that eliminating it would reduce our polluting production while feeding all of the inhabitants. Indeed, each year we waste 1.3 billion tons of food, enough to feed the African, European and American continents together for 1 year. This waste represents 100 billion dollars. In developing countries, the losses mainly occur at the level of production and storage. This mess can be avoided by investing in equipment and infrastructure. In rich countries the waste comes more from distribution and consumers. It is then a question of changing behaviours which consist in buying more than what is needed, even if it means throwing away the products once they have


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