Sustainable Food and Agriculture: An Integrated Approach

A new FAO publication gives recommendations on how we can improve our food systems. According to the authors, achieving sustainable agriculture requires an integrated approach.

The book Sustainable Food and Agriculture: An Integrated Approach was launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in February 2019. It brings together the work of 78 experts from FAO as well as a wide array of universities and organisations around the world.

The publication is organised in 48 chapters and five sections, covering areas ranging from demographics and rural poverty to biodiversity and water scarcity, while also looking at viable examples of how to increase agricultural productivity by integrating different sectors without harming and even increasing existing environmental and social capital.

Its analyses make a point of identifying and balancing trade-offs that typically arise and highlighting successful governance and policy initiatives for resolving them at global and national levels. Governments, scientists, civil society and the private sector need a common understanding of concepts, methods and strategies which "should not be done in silos but by looking holistically across sectors," said Clayton Campanhola, chief editor of the publication and the leader of FAO's Strategic Programme for Sustainable Agriculture.

The final section focuses on research and innovation, policies and incentives, resource mobilization, and governance and institutions - the four areas considered most critical to the meaningful and needed structural transformations for sustainable food and agriculture systems. It ends with a set of recommendations that, if adapted and adopted, would improve the  productivity and sustainability of agriculture and food systems.


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