Farming and civilization
About 10,000 years ago, humans began practicing farming. This agricultural revolution was a turning point in our history. It enabled people to settle, build, and innovate. In short, agriculture helped to create a stable civilization. Today, about 40% of our planet is agricultural land. Spread everywhere on the earth. These farmlands are the pieces to a global puzzle we are all facing. In the future, how can we feed each member of a growing population of healthy food? Achieving this goal will require more than a second agricultural revolution.
The first agricultural revolution was characterized by expansion and exploitation, Feeding people at the expense of clearing forests, killing wildlife, and polluting water. This process destabilized the climate and may not be an option in the second revolution. Agriculture depends on having a stable environment with predictable seasons and weather patterns. It means that we cannot still expand our agricultural lands because doing so will undermine environmental conditions that made farming possible in the first place.
Instead, the next agricultural revolution should increase the output from our existing farmland in the long run while protecting biodiversity, conserving water, And reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. So what we have to do to achieve this?
Technology for better farming
We can use drones as a fleet to monitor the crops. The farm might seem filled with random plants, but it is engineered meticulously for farming, including crops and livestock with wild shelters. Traditional farming methods used to wipe out large forest areas and then grown with only one crop, which contributed to eliminating wildlife and the emission of vast quantities of Greenhouse gases in the process. These new approaches aim to correct that damage. Meanwhile, moving between crops, teams of field robots can apply fertilizer at desired doses. Within the soil, hundreds of sensors collect data about nutrients and water levels.
The information reduces unnecessary water use and informs farmers where to put more fertilizer or reduce it instead of causing pollution by spraying it on the whole farm. But the farms of the future will not be only Sensors and robots. These technologies are designed to help us successfully produce food with the environment instead of causing her harm, taking into account the nuances in local ecosystems. Cost-effective agricultural practices can also serve those same goals and are more available to several farmers. Many of those practices are still in use today, and it’s an increasingly large impact as more farmers started using them.
Countries revolutionizing agriculture
In Costa Rica, farmers have grown their crops within the tropical forest so successfully that they have significantly contributed to doubling the country’s forest area. It also provides food and shelter for wildlife, as natural pollination and pest control from the birds and insects that these farms attract, Thus contributing to food production while restoring the planet’s health.
In the United States of America, Ranch owners keep cattle on grasslands consisting of native species. It generates a valuable protein source using production methods that store carbon And protect biological diversity.
In Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Nepal, new rice production approaches may significantly shrink greenhouse gas emissions in the future. Rice is an essential food for 3 billion people, and therefore, the primary livelihood source for millions of families. Over 90% of rice is grown in overflowing fields, which uses plenty of water and releases 11% of annual methane emissions. It accounts for 1-2% of total annual greenhouse gas emissions globally. By experimenting with growing new strains of rice, less irrigation, and adopt less labor-intensive methods of planting seeds, the farmers in these countries raised their incomes and crop yields while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In Zambia, many organizations invest in locally defined methods to boost crop production, reduce forest loss, and improve local farmers’ livelihood. These efforts are expected to increase crop yields by nearly a quarter over the next few decades. If it’s combined with fighting deforestation within the region, The country could move towards a resilient and climate protection focused agricultural sector.
In India, Up to 40% of the food is lost after harvest or lost because of poor infrastructure. Farmers have already started implementing Solar-powered cold storage capsules. Thousands of rural farmers are getting help to preserve their crops, and it becomes a viable part of the supply chain.
It’ll take all of those methods, from the most high-tech to the lowest cost, To revolutionize farming. Advanced technological interventions amplify the climate conservation-oriented approaches to agriculture, and large producers will need to invest in implementing these technologies. Meanwhile, we should expand access to less costly methods for farmers on a smaller scale.
This future agricultural vision will also require a world transformation towards more vegetarian diets and huge food loss and spoilage reductions. It contributes to reducing pressure toward land, and farmers can do more with what they have available.
If we optimize food production, both on land and sea, we can feed humans within the earth’s environmental limits. Still, there would be a tiny margin of error, and it will require unprecedented global cooperation and coordination of agricultural land that we’ve got today.
Learn more here: History of Agriculture
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