Agriculture production systems around the world are facing unprecedented challenges from an increasing demand for food for a growing population, high competition over dwindling natural resources, loss of biodiversity, emerging pests and diseases, and the adverse effects of climate change.
Global food and nutrition security is under threat, with the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and producers who depend on agriculture, forestry and fisheries being particularly at risk. A fundamental shift in policies and practices is required at global and national levels to drive the transition to sustainable food and agriculture, promote innovations, strengthen science-led decision making, local capacities, and technologies to reconcile environmental, economic and social demands, while balancing synergies and trade-offs.
To provide for a population projected to reach 9.3 billion in 2050 and support changing dietary patterns, estimates are that food production will need to increase from the current 8.4 billion tonnes to almost 13.5 billion tonnes a year.
A common vision for Sustainable Food and Agriculture must equally address social, economic and environmental dimensions to ensure sustainability.
Neglecting any one area jeopardizes the attainment of sustainability in others. The principles which can collectively guide the process of transition to greater sustainability are summarized as
Increase productivity, employment and value addition in food systems
– Protect and enhance natural resources
(Both the above directly support the natural system)
– Improve livelihoods and foster inclusive economic growth
(Support the human system)
– Enhance the resilience of people, communities and ecosystems
– Adapt governance to new challenges
(Support both natural and human systems)
Growth in the agriculture sector may well be judged by the increase in agricultural production over time. In economic terms, relative changes in prices of different crops also may effect substitution.
In 2016, agriculture and allied sectors like animal husbandry, forestry and fisheries accounted for 15.4% of the GDP (gross domestic product) with about 31% of the workforce in 2014. India ranks first in the world with highest net cropped area followed by US and China. The economic contribution of agriculture to India’s GDP is steadily declining with the country’s broad-based economic growth. Still, agriculture is demographically the broadest economic sector and plays a significant role in the overall socio-economic fabric of India.
India exported $38 billion worth of agricultural products in 2013, making it the seventh largest agricultural exporter worldwide and the sixth largest net exporter. Most of its agriculture exports serve developing and least developed nations. Indian agricultural/horticultural and processed foods are exported to more than 120 countries, primarily to the Japan.