Firming Up Farms With Science
Business Today|August 23, 2020
Firming Up Farms With Science
Combining Billions Of Data Points With Their Own Intuition, Farmers Will Be Able To Produce High-quality Harvests Using Less Land, Energy, Water And Synthetic Fertilisers
Liam Condon, Member, Board Of Management, Bayer Ag, And President, Crop Science Division

Everybody in the world depends on farmers for good food, but not everybody realises how intricately our planetary health is connected to farming. Ensuring a healthy food system will help ensure a healthy environment, and thanks to advances in science and innovation, productivity and sustainability need no longer be in conflict with one another.

Food Security and Sustainability

By most measures, the history of food production has been a success, as advances in farming practices and innovative technologies have kept up with global population growth. Yet food shortages still exist in too many places. According to the United Nations, almost one-fifth of the global population has irregular access to a sufficient amount of healthy food.

Our current food production system is overall too resource intensive, with excessive consumption of land, water and other inputs and high amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A report from the United Nations found that agriculture, forestry and other land uses account for 23 per cent of human GHG emissions. However, there’s a positive side to this equation: The report also notes that these same uses have the capacity to absorb almost a third of the total carbon emissions from fossil fuels and industrial activities. By using science and our knowledge of nature responsibly, we can make agriculture part of the solution to global climate change.

The technologies of tomorrow will make farming more productive, but they also must meet strict environmental benchmarks to ensure our food supply is not only sufficient, but sustainable. I would like to highlight three themes that will help agriculture change the world:

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August 23, 2020