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The Need for Farming Reforms

By Shawn Zhang

According to the UN, the global farming sector plays a big role in curbing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change. A recent study by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that agriculture accounts for one fifth of emissions, showing that there is a need for it to be reduced. It has become evident that climate is changing and so agriculture must change too. Rob Voss, director of FAO’s Agricultural Development Economics division, said that even if we continue our conventional farming practices, we risk food security around the world and will be unable to stabilize the climate.

There is a need for changes to happen in the farming sector. However, there are quite a few challenges to consider. We have the technology to make a difference but the cost of changing the way farmers produce their food, teaching the new ways of farming, urbanization, access to water, etc. are problems that need to be tackled. In terms of making the change to a robust global food system, Rob Voss has highlighted four steps forward:

  1. Switch to more sustainable practices, such as more efficient fertilizers and resistant crops.
  1. Increase the capacity of soils and forestry to combat carbon emissions.
  1. Reduce food loss and waste with better harvest processes.
  1. Rebalance people’s diets to food products that are more lenient to natural resources.

This topic of agriculture is said to be one of the main discussion points at the upcoming UN climate summit in November. As FAO director-general Jose Graziano de Silva determinedly states, “Hunger, poverty and climate change need to be tackled together.”


Kinver, Mark. “UN: Farming Needs to Harvest Chance to Cut Emissions.” BBC News. BBC, 18 Oct.
2016. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.

About Shannon Yan

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