World’s food supply under ‘severe threat’ because of some factors such as changes in land and water use and management, pollution and climate change
A report launched by FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, presents mounting and worrying evidence that the biodiversity that underpins our food systems is disappearing – putting the future of our food, livelihoods, health and environment under severe threat.
Biodiversity for food and agriculture is all the plants and animals – wild and domesticated – that provide food, feed, fuel and fibre. It is also the myriad of organisms that support food production through ecosystem services – called “associated biodiversity”. This includes all the plants, animals and micro-organisms (such as insects, bats, birds, mangroves, corals, seagrasses, earthworms, soil-dwelling fungi and bacteria) that keep soils fertile, pollinate plants, purify water and air, keep fish and trees healthy, and fight crop and livestock pests and diseases.
“Biodiversity is critical for safeguarding global food security, underpinning healthy and nutritious diets, improving rural livelihoods, and enhancing the resilience of people and communities. We need to use biodiversity in a sustainable way, so that we can better respond to rising climate change challenges and produce food in a way that doesn’t harm our environment,” said FAO’s Director-General José Graziano da Silva.
The report points to decreasing plant diversity in farmers’ fields, rising numbers of livestock breeds at risk of extinction and increases in the proportion of overfished fish stocks.
The driver of biodiversity for food and agriculture loss cited by most reporting countries is: changes in land and water use and management, followed by pollution, overexploitation and overharvesting, climate change, and population growth and urbanization.
The report also highlights a growing interest in biodiversity-friendly practices and approaches. Eighty percent of the 91 countries indicate using one or more biodiversity-friendly practices and approaches, such as: organic agriculture, integrated pest management, conservation agriculture, sustainable soil management, agroecology, sustainable forest management, agroforestry, diversification practices in aquaculture, ecosystem approach to fisheries and ecosystem restoration.
But, while the rise in biodiversity-friendly practices is encouraging, more needs to be done to stop the loss of biodiversity for food and agriculture. These are often inadequate or insufficient.
You can read the full report here