Robynne Anderson's Emerging Thoughts on Ag

Sustainability Changes Coming

A Green Growth Strategy for Food and Agriculture by the OECD says governments can avoid a conflict between growth and the environment if the right incentives are put in place. It’s sensible recommendations are highlighted in the synopsis below.

“With the world’s population expected to rise by a third between now and 2050, analysts estimate that an additional one billion tonnes of cereals and 200 million tonnes of meat would need to be produced annually between now and then to feed everyone.

The report identifies three priority areas where coherent action is required:

  1. Increase productivity in a sustainable way. If resources are used more efficiently throughout the supply chain, production can be increased and natural resources conserved. Higher priority needs to be given to research, development, innovation, education and information.
  2. Ensure that well functioning markets provide the right signals. Prices that reflect the scarcity value of natural resources as well as the environmental impact of farming will contribute to greater efficiency. Economically and environmentally harmful subsidies should be phased out. The “polluter pays” principle needs to be enforced through charges and regulations. Incentives should be provided for maintaining biodiversity and environmental services.
  3. Establish and enforce well-defined property rights. Over-exploitation can result when marine resources, land and forests lack clearly defined rights and ownership, the report says.
    Business as usual is not an option and adjustments to policies and practices will be needed. But in the longer term, the report adds, greener agriculture would reinforce environmental sustainability, economic growth and social well-being.”

Full report: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/38/10/48224529.pdf