Recent Agricultural Challenges
The World production of major cereal grains (rice, wheat, sorghum [jowar] and corn) has risen steadily each decade since 1960, but when you examine per capita global production of the same grains, only corn is on the rise because of its hybrid production. Dr. Jerry Bigham of The Ohio State University shared eye-opening population numbers for India and China, home to one-third of the world’s population. India’s projected population, is heavily inclined in the age groups of 0 to 14, is expected to increase 31% between 2000 and 2025. Statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations predicts the world’s population will increase from 6.8 billion people in 2010 to 8.9 billion people by 2050 almost one third greater than today. They reported that escalating food prices led to riots in 30 different countries during 2008. Also the patterns reveal that food prices worldwide have doubled since 2006. Countries will face major challenge as the land available for agriculture will be constantly falling. With more population entering in this sector and the family held lands will be divided more and more amongst the successor. Hence, the land available for cultivation will fall resulting in the total produce to reduce.
The financial crisis may have disrupted the ability of agricultural producers and agribusinesses to access capital, and the looming recession will reduce demand for many agricultural goods. The financial crisis and recession could create an agricultural business environment that discourages decision makers from looking ahead to meet the 30-year challenge. In this situation, decisions about management practices, investment and research to align public and private activities are likely to focus on short-term profitability and rising capital costs rather than long-run objectives relating to food security, energy security, natural resources, climate change, and economic development.
Next problem faced is global food security. Agriculture has always been under pressure to feed a growing world, but the problem today is compounded by competing bioenergy demands, increasing competition for natural resources, climate change and income growth. Booming income growth in many developing countries causes consumers’ diets to shift away from traditional staples in favor of livestock products to another. At the same time that more and more output is needed, consumers hold the agricultural sector to increasingly higher their food safety standards. To increase food security target quantity and safety. These options include education to help consumers understand and participate in food safety, enhancing existing domestic nutrition assistance and international food aid, and support for international grain stocks or financial mechanisms that reduce the effects of high prices on the world’s poorest consumers.
Globally energy needs to be secure; one result of complacency toward energy security may be inconsistent and inefficient investment in alternative fuels. The recent run-up in the real petroleum price renewed interest in renewable fuels that had waned as prices fell after the peak in the early 1980s. An economy-wide shift to incorporate new energy sources invites long-term decision-making that looks beyond immediate price swings. Leaders in the U.S. agricultural sector may not be the key players in deciding the role for public policies for energy security. However, they will make decisions to implement biofuel use mandates—or whether to waive them—and about biofuel credits and tariffs that expire in the coming years. Each option has different consequences for the budget and for markets, with unintended consequences that may increase competition for natural resources and impede food security.
The agricultural sector must adapt to climate changes, that is already taking place all over the globe and play a part in climate change moderation strategies. Thus, if agriculturist adapts themselves to the changes that could occur they can address the issue proactively. Mitigation invites a long-term planning horizon that focuses on the wider effects of producer and agribusiness practices. There are public policy options that would coax private firms to reduce greenhouse gas emission voluntarily, speed research to develop and change agricultural practices which are adverse also price greenhouse gas emissions directly with a tax or indirectly with a cap-and-trade regime compel emissions reductions with strict regulations. If not take note at the right time the unintended consequences may include reductions in overall agricultural output, placing food and energy security at risk at large and slowing economic development over all.
Agriculture is often the main source of income for the poorest people in the world, and food is usually their largest expense. Many efforts to increase global economic development try to improve the performance of the agricultural sector in developing countries. Options available to U.S. agricultural decision makers include reviewing the role of food aid as an instrument that can support economic development, both by triggering local markets and by providing the nutritional basis necessary for increasing human capital. They are also formulating programs that target specific deficiencies in developing countries’ agricultural sectors; such as infrastructure and research. While these programs tend to require small budgetary outlays, their potential benefits for the recipient and for the United States may be large.
How to improve social welfare and personal livelihoods in the rural sector and enhance multiplier effects of agriculture?
To have an improved livelihood the government must keep the development to the rural areas as the prime objective. Subsidizing the rates of fertilizers and seeds, by providing with enhanced equipments, updating them with technology, minimizing the manual labor to mechanical labor, free education to farmers about hybrids, GMO’s and other new researches, Increased production per acre using controlled fertilizer and fuel inputs, while preserving soil and water. Lastly increase market for agricultural trade. With the technology and Science introduced in agricultural sector the yield can be increased and farmers will also get their share profits, monetary and non monetary.
We have to continue to look at agricultural systems that can produce more food on existing land, using less energy, while protecting the natural resource base. It’s critical, Since, it is also required to keep a growing population calm and filled. Farming System and its emphasis on reduced tillage and the application of fertilizer only where soil tests show it’s needed – is the type of agricultural system that can allow countries experiencing intense growth to feed their people.
by Ag Spectrum: www.agspectrum.com
Farm Foundation: www.farmfoundation.org
2008 by the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD): www.greenfacts.org