Agri Business

FAO refocuses on green revolution, calls for adopting climate-sensitive tech

Press Trust of India New Delhi | Updated on August 08, 2019 Published on August 08, 2019

Stating the green revolution that transformed farm output in the Asia-Pacific region heavily relied on mono-cropping and use of fertilisers and pesticides, the UN body FAO has called for embracing climate-sensitive innovations and technologies to sustainably meet the increasingly complex demands of a nutrient-deficient world.

During the green revolution in 1960s, the productivity of global agriculture increased drastically as a result of new advances such as high-yielding variety (HYV) seeds, modern fertiliser and better irrigation methods.

Adverse effects

FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific Kundhavi Kadiresan said while the green revolution was fundamental in increasing food production, it also relied heavily on mono-cropping and extensive use and, in many cases, overuse of chemical fertilisers and pesticides which, over time, degraded soil, polluted water and undermined biodiversity.

“The global trends of a growing inequality, shifting demographics, increasing urbanisation and changing climate have created a global challenge. We have to increase food production while protecting the environment from biodiversity loss and climate change,” he said while addressing a special meeting on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Chennai-based MS Swaminathan Research Foundation. Agri-scientist MS Swaminathan is regarded as the father of India’s green revolution.

New technologies

In order to sustainably increase food production, while streamlining food systems, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has called for greater deployment, and a scaling up, of accessible digital and data-intensive technologies to be readily available to small-scale farmers, fishers and forest-dwellers.

Under sustainable agriculture, the only input to use intensively would be data, while minimising the use of physical inputs (fertiliser, chemicals, or water) while using proven techniques such as intercropping, crop rotation, low-tillage and integrated pest management, a statement said.

“To feed a burgeoning global population with nutritious food, we have to consider the symbiotic relationships between agriculture, biodiversity and climate change. We have to look at the enabling factors of science, technology and innovation, of synergies and efficiencies through partnerships and investment, and of empowering women and youth to increase the viability of farming,” Kadiresan said.

There are many examples already, from the use of on-farm sensors for real-time management of crop and livestock systems, to the mapping of soil nutrition status which allows for more targeted and effective nutrient management practices, he added.

Published on August 08, 2019
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