Promoting sustainable agricultural practices is a major priority for industry leaders and government bodies around the world.

Financial services giant Rabobank and UN Environment are making a $1 billion facility available to advance sustainable farming systems. The facility will initially focus on Brazil and Indonesia but will ultimately be made available globally.

“The facility aims to finance sustainable land use and help achieve the Paris Climate Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. It provides grants, de-risking instruments and credit to clients involved in sustainable agricultural production, processing or agricultural commodity trade who adhere to strict provisions for forest protection, restoration and the involvement of smallholders,” Rabobank said in a statement.

More details of the programme will be revealed at the World Economic Forum in January 2018.

It is one of a growing number of initiatives being rolled out to help transform agriculture.

Leaders gathered for last month’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) said it was vital that sustainable food systems are developed, to minimise the environmental impact of the industry, and to produce enough food for a growing global population.

Australia is one country leading by example. Innovators Magazine reported in the summer that the its Academy of Science had published a ten-year plan to build a more sustainable agriculture sector. The blueprint calls for innovations that can ‘increase the ability of governments and producers to maintain productivity and efficiency in the face of evolving natural challenges’; and for the adoption of technologies that can facilitate this.

And one Aussie firm is showing the way, with tech that can grow food with nothing more than sea water and sun to create ‘produce without needing fossil fuels, vast amounts of fresh water and thousands of acres of cultivated farmland’.

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