Flashbacks and Forecasts

Agriculture is the world’s oldest profession; a natural progression when human had to grow his own food to feed him and his family. Over the next thousands of years, agriculture evolved to become an industry- a key contributor of economic development. Each phase of the growth had its own wins and challenges.

In an article by Crop Life International, I read that since in 1860 an average farm in the USA produced food for 15 people which increased to food for over 140 people by 2010. When population was increasing at an exponential rate, the total acreage in USA did not increase that dramatically. This trend is also seen to replicate in other countries. This was led by plant science, seed innovation and a supporting ecosystem that allowed for broad thinking and future outlook.

After enjoying thousands of years of boom, agriculture today stands at crossroads. It is failing to provide the relief to civilizations it was originally meant to. Despite the resources, the world faces the threat of food insecurity. A report by UN Food and Agriculture Organization in 2009 on ‘The State of Food and Agriculture’ stated that 9 countries in Asia alone were dealing with critical problems of food security. Immediate actions were to be taken the same was to be curbed. Over the next few years, scientists have worked to find solutions, but many sustainable and effective solutions have not been implemented due to policy and governance issues. The challenges have hence continued to grow and even in 2016 the situation does not seem to reflect any better.

The latest UN FAO, report published in 2016 not only talks about the problems of food security but also shares the core reasons of the same. This was done to help people understand what are the core issues that needs to be resolved. The report identifies availability (of land), access (to latest technology and machines), utilization (of natural resources efficiently) and stability as the core aspects that need to be addressed…

While availability of land is limited not just by its natural existence but also that urbanization is important, there is an opportunity to use resources better to improve the productivity of this land. This works in close coordination with access to latest technologies for which there is a need for Government support and active participation of civic bodies as farmers may often be restricted by their own capacities. Stability works at various levels- for private companies to invest continuously in development of the innovations, and stability for the Government to encourage such investments.

Through this one short point, I hope to bring to your notice one significant point- it is important to address these targeted challenges of agriculture are targeted and worked upon. Nothing can be greater if agriculture rules the world in 2109, likes it rules today, but with improved advancements and by having a more solution-oriented approach.

By Dr Ajai Gaur, Marketing, Mahyco