The state of agriculture today

Written by Monique Mikhail

Over the past few decades, the world's focus on increasing water abstraction for irrigation, supporting only a handful of high-yielding crop varieties, using petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides, and pursuing other technological "fixes" as a means to increase production has become a dominant way of thinking about agriculture--so much so that it is termed "conventional agriculture."  While yield increases have undoubtedly occurred, this has also had a host of unintended environmental effects--degradation of land and water resources, biodiversity loss, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions, to name a few--as well as socioeconomic effects--increased inequality, marginalization of the poor and women, and loss of community and household resilience to climate and economic shocks.  And although the world grows enough food to feed the current population, poverty and hunger persist.

Monique Mikhail, State of the World 2012, p.153

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