Poor and marginalized populations are usually found to be the most affected by land and soil degradation. How can the scientific community ensure that land and soil degradation are included in the SDGs?
One of the major issues in realizing Africa’s food production potential is the lack of organic materials to adequately enrich the soils, making mineral fertilizers most crucial to replenish soil fertility. While there has been renewed interest in fertilizer subsidies, they remain controversial.
Currently the cost of land degradation reaches about US$490 billion per year, much higher than the cost of action to prevent it. To rectify this we should first get the basics right: credible quantitative information about current status, drivers, indicators, thresholds, and spatial variability.
In the least favored regions of the world, food production per capita remains at the same level as in the 1960s. There are many reasons, from a purely agronomic perspective, for such disparities. New inputs from science can support indigenous knowledge for landscape restoration and ecological intensification.
Land degradation is no longer a local problem. Increasing land scarcity means that smallholder farmers in Africa may find themselves competing for land in a global market that has seen an exponential rise in foreign investment in soil and water or ‘land grabbing’. Conversion of new lands contributes to climate change. What are we doing about it?
Precious little work directly addresses the corporate presence. Those who want effective policies to protect smallholders and promote sustainable landscapes need to do some serious thinking about how to handle agribusiness corporations.
Over the past five years, the idea of sustainable intensification – of producing more food from the same area of land while reducing the environmental impacts – has been gaining traction in policy debate.
As gender gains attention in the agricultural world, data and information show women as major players in food production. But, development practitioners and policy makers have been slow to recognize women’s vital and diverse role in food security.