Sustainable farming is the future. Using sustainable farming practices, and also sustainable technologies, will allow us to continue the tradition of agriculture without harming the planet.
But what is green agriculture, exactly?
According to the United Nations, green agriculture incorporates ideas and guidelines from different conceptual areas. These are fair trade, ecological agriculture, organic or biodynamic agriculture, as well as conservation agriculture.
More specifically, this means green agriculture uses adaptable local farming techniques and practices that will increase farming yields. This will also reduce waste and inefficiency problems in our food chain, offer improved and sustainable services for the ecosystem, and also provide a higher return on labour.
Basically, green agriculture uses well-developed modern farming and sustainability concepts to improve natural agricultural techniques dealing with things such as weed and pest management and organic fertilizers and seeds. It also draws on technology to push farming forward. These technologies will complement and expand upon natural methods, and include things such as new, synthetic fertilizers.
The UN has listed the five key principles of green agriculture as:
- Integration of livestock-crops
- Using post-harvest storage and processing facilities to reduce waste
- Making sure crop rotations are diversified
- Using environmentally sustainable weed and pest control practices
- Using natural and sustainably made nutrient inputs
Green agriculture fuses both sustainable environmental practices with better labour usage on agriculture farms to reduce poverty.
But how do we transition to green agriculture?
The UN says there are six things that must be improved upon to get there. These are:
- Diversifying crops and livestock
- Making water use efficient and thus more sustainable
- Managing soil fertility
- Making sure agriculture storage facilities are more efficient and sustainable
- Improving the management of animal and plant health
- Introducing new and environmentally friendly and labour-friendly modes of mechanization
As you can tell, green agriculture is a wide-ranging and complex topic that draws upon ideas that will need to be introduced by local, national and global governments and organizations.
But green agriculture is also something that small-scale farmers can introduce. The transition to a more sustainable form of agriculture will mean local farms will change their practices, drawing upon best practices from the green agriculture toolbox. Conventional and traditional farmers can take on these sustainable practices and methods for maximum results.