Farming's future - more with less
Johannesburg - Greenhouse gas emissions from farming need to be reduced, the deputy minister of agriculture said on Tuesday.
"The challenge is... to produce more food on less land with less damage to the atmosphere," Pieter Mulder said at the food and agricultural organisation meeting of the United Nations' 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17) summit in Durban, according to a copy of his speech.
In the next 30 years food production needed to increase by 70%.
"What makes the challenge bigger is the fact that the majority of the world's agricultural land is already being used," he said.
The earth's fertile land was declining by 10 million ha per year through drought and urbanisation.
Mulder said agriculture needed to be a priority of the COP 17, and more research was needed to find solutions to the problems farmers faced.
Large-scale polluters - including the USA and China - needed to reduce their emissions or the changes made by less polluting countries would be useless.
"Even if South Africa was to succeed by 2020 to reach the Copenhagen emissions goals for only a year, China releases enough greenhouse gasses in 68 hours to neutralise South Africa's success," Mulder said.