Sustainable intensification could help farmers produce more

As the global population continues to grow, there will be a greater need for sustainable sourcing in the food industry. Agriculture will need to generate more food while using less resources, and a policy known as sustainable intensification could help farmers produce more crops on the same lands, according to a study from Science journal's Policy Forum. As the population grows, there will be less available land for agriculture, and water and energy supplies will be limited. 

The authors of the article stressed the importance of farmer education. Issues with food sustainability and meeting increased global demand need to be accounted for in international policies. How the food system is governed will need to be changed to improve long-term sustainability. Farming more productively with land that is currently cultivated is important for environmental health. Converting new ground to farmland would cause large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions and could lead to a loss of biodiversity. Global hunger and increased demand for food could place forests at risk, the Center for International Forestry Research stated. Agriculture contributes to 30 percent of global greenhouse emissions. 

Achieving a higher level of productivity does not mean using more fertilizers and chemicals because this could have negative impacts on the environment. In the future, the food industry will need to address human diet and nutrition.

"Around two billion people worldwide are thought to be deficient in micronutrients," said Dr. Tara Garnett of the Food Climate Research Network at the Oxford University Martin School. "We need to intensify the quality of food we produce in ways that improve the nutritional value of people's diets, preferably through diversifying the range of foods produced and available, but also, in the short term, but improving the nutrient content of commonly produced crops."

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