UN calls for eco-friendly farming to boost yields

Jun 13, 2011
A woman checks maize crop on a small farm in Chinhamora, Zimbabwe, in Febuary 2011. The United Nations food agency on Monday called for greater use of environmentally sustainable techniques by poor farmers in order to increase crop intensity to feed the world's growing population.

The United Nations food agency on Monday called for greater use of environmentally sustainable techniques by poor farmers in order to increase crop intensity to feed the world's growing population.

"The new approach calls for targeting mainly smallholder farmers in developing countries," the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a statement accompanying a report entitled "Save and Grow".

"Helping low-income farm families in developing countries... economise on cost of production and build healthy agro-ecosystems will enable them to maximise yields and invest the savings in their health and education," it said.

"In order to grow, agriculture must learn to save," it said, pointing to lower in recent years despite an increase in environmentally unsustainable farming practices aimed at increasing .

The eco-friendly techniques recommended by FAO include using plant residues to cover over fields, rotating cereals cultivation with soil-enriching legumes, more precise irrigation for fields and better use of fertilizers.

"Such methods help adapt crops to and not only help grow more food but also contribute to reducing crops' water needs by 30 percent and by up to 60 percent," the report said.

"In some cases crop yields can be increased six-fold, as shown by trials with maize held recently in southern Africa," it said.

"Average yields from farms practicing the techniques in 57 low-income countries increased almost 80 percent," it added.

FAO called on governments both in the developed and in the developing world to increase investments in order to provide incentives for poor farmers to adopt the new, more environmentally friendly .

Explore further: US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

What farmers think about GM crops

Feb 24, 2008

Farmers are upbeat about genetically modified crops, according to new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Recommended for you

New research on Earth's carbon budget

13 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Results from a research project involving scientists from the Desert Research Institute have generated new findings surrounding some of the unknowns of changes in climate and the degree to which ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

omatumr
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 14, 2011
UN calls for eco-friendly farming


Is the UN in charge of agriculture?

Was that part of the UN charter?
Shelgeyr
1 / 5 (2) Jun 14, 2011
Doublespeak.

More news stories

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...