Farming's future - more with less

2011-11-29 20:24

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.

  • flyswat - 2011-11-29 21:09

    In the next 30 years, the aim should be to reduce the population by 70%

      Phil.Kleynhans - 2011-11-29 22:02

      That is only possible with world war or major spread of a deadly virus world wide. +/- 4.5 billion people must die - you need a major issue to achieve 70%

      flyswat - 2011-11-29 22:34

      Phil, I'll even settle for a population growth stagnation if reduction should fail.

      Keith - 2011-11-29 23:17

      Why flyswat? Did you know that you can actually pack 7 billion people into 2 cubic kilometers with space left over? It's not the big population that is the problem - every human being is special - it is the selfish folks who won't share and help one another - there are more than enough resources to go around. We simply haven;t learned how to manage the earth properly, that's all.

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-11-30 07:02

      Keith, its not space thats a problem, its that each of those individuals needs to consume to survive. The ability of the earth to provide for all those consumers is limited, so population IS a very serious issue.

  • Willie - 2011-11-29 21:19

    What a bunch of idiots. Did they know that one volcanic eruption spew more co2 into the atmosphere than the human race has ever done. I bet that is one fact that they dont tell anybody, because then people will realize they are paying a co2 or carbon tax for nothing. And not just here in SA but all around the earth. And if you are reading this and think I am smoking my socks, Please do yourself a favor and research this and see for your self. You are being led by the nose like a bull to a slaughter house. The elite of this world is taking your money and selling you a bunch of rubbish. I mean what is next? Are they going to pass a fart tax?

      flyswat - 2011-11-29 22:33

      Willie, I'm with you there 1000%!

      Ryan - 2011-11-29 23:46

      Willie, whether the increased C02 levels is a naturally occurring phenomena or induced by human activity is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that temperatures are rising and if maintained will have dire consequences on food security in the medium to distant future ( 50 - 100 years) By introducing "no regret strategies" the planet will be in better position to deal with the food security issues regardless of whether it was human induced or not.

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-11-30 07:09

      So I guess we can continue polluting the air at will then Willie? Nice to wake up to thick smog, thats real quality of life, isn't it? This climate change thing forces humans to do things to improve the quality of human life. Anyone doubting our dependance on oil and coal is not severly affecting the long term quality of human life is crazy. Look what coal mining is doing to our water resources. Look how oil dependance causes wars and human misery. I fail to understand why people are against doing things to improve the quality of human life, I think the greed and rip off is coming from the mega wealthy fossil fuel sector who are worried they will lose out once dependance on them falls away!

  • Cracker - 2011-11-29 21:31

    Make it easier on the human race. Don't multiply, and by so doing contain the number of sufferers. In the process make it a bit easier on the rest by not over-using natural resources. As for climate change, it is a reality and nothing that they do can change it. Nature is a blind force. It answers to nobody or anything.

  • Phil.Kleynhans - 2011-11-29 21:50

    Earth is an enrgy ball like it has its own brain or living cell. The more we waste the Earth the more it is going to waste us. We are not looking after Earth, so it is not going to look after us.Its part of evolution

  • Chum Scrubber - 2011-11-30 07:18

    A farmer myself, what annoys me is how much previously developed land now lies fallow. This is due to farmers going bust, land reform, and sometimes just plain uselessness. At the same time I see beautiful virgin bush being bulldozed as farmers "expand". This is a real tragedy, when so much land already "cleared" lies fallow. A terrible waste of a natural resource called biodiversity. If you're going to farm, farm properly - every farmer must strive to produce at maximum capacity off his land, I even believe government should enforce this.

  • coetzee - 2011-11-30 08:03

    At the rate they are killing farmers in SA they don't have to worry about greenhouse gasses. Whe already have a food shortage, because farmers rather export.

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