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FAO Calls for More Sustainable and Productive Farming Systems to Reduce Agriculture’s Carbon Footprint

Shivaji Pandey, Chairperson of FAO's Working Group on Biotechnology

4 February 2009: Speaking at the fourth World Congress on Conservation Agriculture (CA), held from 4-7 February 2009, in New Delhi, India, Shivaji Pandey, Director of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Plant Production and Protection Division, called on the world's farmers to adopt CA practices to ensure sustainable yield growth and reduce agriculture's carbon footprint.

Pandey explained that global trends in yield growth are declining because current practices of agricultural intensification often affect soil, water, biodiversity and other ecosystem services needed for agricultural production. CA farming seeks to avoid these effects by reducing tillage and promoting permanent soil cover and diversified crop rotations to ensure optimal soil health and productivity. At the same time, CA reduces carbon emissions from agriculture and improves carbon sequestration in the soil. He stressed that sustainable intensification of agriculture is imperative to achieve progress in the fight against hunger and poverty while ensuring environmental sustainability, and urged governments, donors and other stakeholders to provide policy and financial support to promote CA, such as training, participatory research, building strong farmers' organizations, and making available and encouraging local manufacturing of newly-developed CA equipment.

The fourth World Congress on Conservation Agriculture is hosted by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences and sponsored, among others, by FAO and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. [FAO Press Release] [FAO Website on CA] [Congress Website]