Sustainable Development: Agriculture’s global practice of using resources faster than they can be replenished has been a source of debate and discussion for decades, if not centuries. Pollution, soil erosion/loss, wildlife population decline/shifts, and general alteration of a “natural” flora/fauna have all been observed as symptoms of imbalance resulting from human involvement. Whether in a one-square-meter vegetable garden in Tokyo or a one-million-hectare rubber tree plantation in Malaysia, agricultural techniques are unquestionably “unnatural.” This article makes three claims about the role of technology in sustainable development of agriculture, based on the assumption that food shortages will not restrain human population expansion due to overriding social values:
- Technology has/will increase agricultural productivity
- Technology development has been/will be favourable for sustainable development
- Technology is, therefore, the basis for Sustainable development of Agriculture
The economic laws of scarcity apply to food. Unlike the artificial worth of precious things like gold, a sufficient supply of food is essential for population survival and skill diversification, making agriculture a top concern. Human society has been able to move away from the “Hunter / Gatherer” model of existence, concentrating labour and land for the sole purpose of food production on an ever-increasing scale, thanks to technological advancements. The term “scientific agriculture” was coined in 1840 and 1842 by Liebig and Johnston, who speculated on chemistry in agriculture.
Sustainable agriculture means farming in sustainable ways, meeting society’s existing food and textile requirements without compromising the ability of current or future ages to meet their needs. Several philosophies, practices, and policies have committed to these goals. Moreover, from farmers to consumers, people in different roles have shared this vision and contributed.
But an increasing number of innovative farmers and experts are taking a different path, leading toward a farming system that is more sustainable— economically, environmentally, and socially. This system has room for all sizes, producing several ranges of foods, fibres, and fuels modified to local conditions and local markets.
In agriculture, sustainability is a complicated idea with many aspects, including the economic, the social and the environmental.
Advancements in Sustainable Development
Soon after, science-based organisations in Europe and North America jumped at the chance to apply biological and chemical sciences to agriculture, producing new technologies and methodologies. These early technological applications have not only increased food production in absolute terms, but they have also dramatically reduced the number of people directly involved in food production/processing, allowing society to diversify and address social issues that aren’t directly related to “survival,” but which are generally seen as improving quality of life.
To reject the importance of biological and chemical technologies in the development of agriculture in the past, present, and future is to deny natural history itself. However, the indiscriminate or inappropriate application of chemical and biological technology can have detrimental implications for the environment and jeopardise the enterprise’s long-term existence and the sustainable development goals. As a result, the protection of non renewable resources is the primary concern of sustainable development.
The balance can be accomplished by thoughtfully analysing which parcels of land use for high-yield agriculture while reserving marginal or poor land for non-agricultural activities or wildlife habitat preservation. According to studies on the impact of cutting or limiting agricultural inputs on output, yields per hectare would drop by 35 per cent to 80 per cent, depending on the crop.Without a corresponding drop in demand, the amount of land that has to be used would skyrocket.
If the high yield benefits of technology were not used, the global acreage in production today, roughly the size of South America, would have to be the size of both South and North America. If sustainable development aims to optimise production and conserve natural resources, then it is evident that progress may be made.
Agriculture and Sustainable Development
In agriculture, sustainable development refers to an agroecosystem’s ability to maintain consistent production throughout time. Stability under a particular set of environmental and economic circumstances, which can only be controlled on a site-by-site basis, is a core idea of sustainable development. However, agriculture as a practice is already excluded if the sustainability perspective is biased against biological and chemical technology and advocates for a completely natural ecosystem.
If, on the other hand, the goal of sustainability is to preserve non-renewable resources within the boundaries of the agricultural sector, the goal is attainable and sound economic and environmental management.
Consider the basic premise of biotechnology: the sun is the cheapest and most renewable source of energy on Earth, and photosynthesis is the most abundant and predictable mechanism for converting solar energy to usable energy — biotechnology has enabled methods for directing abundant natural energy to new, more efficient, or unique food products. One’s imagination only limits the possibilities. But, of course, yield, quality, and input reduction will be the primary short-term goals.
Longer-term, however, the genetically engineered “transmissions” will be focused on producing super-nutritious animal feed, plants that outproduce the subtractive influence of pests (making “tolerance” a key pest management tactic), physiological adaptation to out-compete adjacent species (e.g., weeds), drought stress tolerance, and overall improvement in photosynthesis rate (leading to any number of industrial applications).
Sustainable products give environmental, economic, and social benefits while protecting public health and the environment.
It’s high time for us to reduce waste and its impacts on the environment, and this can be done by making a conscious decision of using eco-friendly products. This will force companies to create Sustainable products, which are not toxic to the environment. Sustainable product development drives through eco-design to assist companies in developing more sustainable products.
Sustainable Products are the products made from natural ingredients. They also come in recyclable packaging which ensures that no waste remains
The requirement to develop sustainable products is one of the industry’s critical challenges in the 21st century. Hence, the idea is emerging as a key element of Cleaner Production.
Agricultural technology development
Agricultural technology development and use are not, however, restricted to genetic wizardry. Indeed, computational technology, in combination with geographic positioning devices and remote sensing developments, can completely transform the way all crops are maintained. The fundamental principle of “Precision Agriculture,” as it is commonly known, is the integration of data to develop management knowledge as a means of addressing site-specific production goals.
Environmental uncertainty will always be a significant issue in agriculture. Still, it will be addressed using environmental modelling mixed with risk management algorithms, which will lead to the best use of genetics on specific soils within known weather profiles. Breakthroughs in “classical” technology have enormously improved world food production since the birth of “science agriculture” in the late 1800s will continue to be witnessed. Technology will be utilised to rehabilitate land that has been abused or exploited due to poor agricultural practices, in addition to increasing output.
Regardless of the current state of technical offerings, the concept of Best Management Practices will remain a significant focus. Integrated pest management (IPM) strategies take into account the site-specific circumstances and the agricultural producers’ values and business considerations. IPM has been critical in articulating the role and reason for responsible pest management, leading scientists and practitioners in the right direction for future biological information needs and putting pest control in context with production goals.
To this aim, the concept of pest Economic-injury Levels has been essential in dispelling the belief that pests must be eradicated at all costs in favour of break-even analyses.
Sustainable development is a matter of survival, but it encompasses much more than habitat degradation and soil erosion. For example, the purpose of food production, the welfare of food producers, and the protection of non-renewable resources all fall under the umbrella of sustainable development.
To that aim, all forms of technology have been and will continue to be the enabling man-made component that will connect these two overarching goals. Indeed, history shows that technology has been critical to agricultural productivity and stability, contemporary technological discoveries show that the discovery and sustainable development of new technologies is a long-term activity. Common sense tells us that technology will enable Sustainable development and sustainable Agriculture.