New and emerging technologies could pave the way to net-zero carbon emissions agriculture in the next two decades, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) last month.
A host of new and emerging agricultural technologies lie on the horizon that could revolutionize how we think about food production, but a separate report published in the journal One Earth suggests that low-tech solutions could be just as effective.
Agriculture and food production account for 34% of global greenhouse gas emissions, making these sectors critical in efforts to address our current overshoot of the climate planetary boundary. They are also having profound impacts on freshwater, biodiversity, and nitrogen and phosphorous nutrient cycling — each of them planetary boundaries that we must balance if we are to keep conditions on Earth habitable for generations to come.
Munene Njoka, a young farmer from central Kenya, is furious. The reason for his rage is a bundle of decaying maize stacked in a corner of his home.
The maize was attacked by stem borers, a pest that swarms cornfields. The stem borer invasion forced Njoka to remove the affected crop from his farm to prevent the pest from spreading to the rest of his crop.
It didn’t work.
The United Nations (UN) recently launched the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide. It is a response to evidence that our current abuse of nature has accelerated global warming and degraded natural resources to a degree that threatens the wellbeing of people.
The Decade will use overseas development aid to influence land use policies that align with its 10 point strategy. This will be channelled through instruments such as the Global Environment Facility’s drylands programme and the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund.