The trend of international land grabbing—when governments and private firms invest in or purchase large tracts of land in other countries for the purpose of agricultural production and export—can have serious environmental and social consequences, according to researchers at the Worldwatch Institute.
As the global population increases, so does the number of mouths to feed. The good news is that in addition to providing food, innovations in sustainable agriculture can provide a solution to many of the challenges that a growing population presents. Agriculture is emerging as a solution to mitigating climate change, reducing public health problems and costs, making cities more livable, and creating jobs in a stagnant global economy.
As people move from rural to urban settings in search of economic opportunities, urban agriculture is becoming an important provider of both food and employment, according to researchers with the Worldwatch Institute.
The Green Revolution of the 1960s led to a near tripling of global grain production and a doubling of the world’s irrigated area. It also, however, demanded vast quantities of water. Previous agricultural investments have focused narrowly on increasing crop yields, while there has been relatively little research and investment in ways to make better use of scarce water resources. Affordable innovations that boost agricultural development and meet the increasing demand on already-scarce water resources while also mitigating the impacts of climate change, are more important than ever.
In Cameroon, one of the foods that grows best is cassava. But farmers struggle with low yields because of pests and diseases that damage crops, making each harvest much more labor intensive than they are worth. One group is looking to change that.