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Farming moving in ‘healthy direction’

A new report suggests a third of farms worldwide are adopting more environmentally friendly practices.

Research published in the journal, Nature, examined the application of what’s termed ‘sustainable intensification’ – methods that use ‘land, water, biodiversity, labour, knowledge and technology to both grow crops and reduce environmental impacts like pesticide pollution, soil erosion, and greenhouse gas emissions’.

The study states that around one-tenth of global farmland is under a level of sustainable intensification, and that it’s producing ‘dramatic results’. One example given is from Cuba, where 100,000 farmers have ‘increased their productivity 150% while cutting their pesticide use by 85%’.


“Although we have a long way to go, I’m impressed by how far farmers across the world and especially in less developed countries have come in moving our food-production systems in a healthy direction,” said John Reganold, Washington State University Regents Professor of Soil Science and Agroecology and a co-author of the paper.


The Professor wants policy makers to do more to help accelerate the progress being made.

He added: “Stronger government policies across the globe are now needed to support the greater adoption of sustainable intensification farming systems so that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals endorsed by all members of the UN are met by 2030. This will help provide sufficient and nutritious food for all, while minimising environmental impact and enabling producers to earn a decent living.”

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