Agriculture resilience (food security)
The issues of food security and agricultural resilience will only grow in importance as the global population rises, potentially reaching 9.8 billion people in 2050. Scientists predict that current industrial farming practices and deforestation will result in the elimination of topsoil — a crucial element in soil health — within 60 years. That portends massive impacts on agricultural productivity. 25% of the earth’s surface has already become degraded — a landmass that could feed approximately 1.5 billion people, according to the FAO.
Studies have shown that increasing the carbon content of soil not only significantly enhances their resilience to drought and erosion from heavy precipitation, but also enables the soil to retain more water, which then is readily available for plant growth and microorganisms.
Smallholder farmers are indispensable to the global economy and food system; one-third of the world’s 7.3 billion people are smallholder farmers and their families, who produce nearly 70 percent of all food consumed worldwide. Yet smallholder farmers are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, since the vast majority depends on rain-fed agriculture. Regenerative agriculture provides a way to strengthen climate resiliency for smallholders as it boosts biodiversity, water retention and productivity.