Agriculture at a crossroads
Kiers, E.Toby, Leakey, Roger R.B., Izac, Anne-Marie, Heinemann, Jack A., Rosenthal, Erika, Nathan, Dev, and Jiggins, Janice (2008) Agriculture at a crossroads. Science, 320 . pp. 320-321.
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Recent scientific assessments(1–4) have alerted the world to the increasing size of agriculture's footprint, including its contribution to climate change and degradation of natural resources (5). By some analyses,agriculture is the single largest threat to biodiversity(6). Agriculture requires more land, water, and human labor than any other industry(7). An estimated 75% of the world's poor and hungry live in rural areas and depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihoods(8). As grain commodity prices rise and per capita grain production stagnates (9), policy-makers are torn between allocating land to food or fuel needs. The governance of agriculture requires new thinking if it is to meet the needs of humanity now and in the future. The International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) brought together governments, international organizations, and private sector and civil society organizations to address these challenges (10). The task was to assess the current state and future potential of formal and informal knowledge, as well as science and technology (S&T), (i) to reduce hunger and poverty, (ii) to improve rural livelihoods, and (iii) to facilitate equitable, sustainable development.
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