By: Bamidele Fashube
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) in a new report, gave recommendations on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.
It said after the energy sector, agriculture, land use and forestry sector is the second largest contributor to global greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions.
The report, titled: OECD‑FAO Agricultural Outlook 2020‑2029 recommended a reduction in food losses and waste along the supply chain to consumers saying this may significantly lower emissions.
It said although, this might be costly to achieve, information about the emission contents of products could encourage people to switch to lower emission diets.
The report also stated that increased agriculture productivity growth can help to reduce emissions while addressing food security concerns.
“One example is precision agriculture, where global positioning systems and sensors, for instance, are helping to lower fertilizer use in crop production.
“For cattle, improving feed rations and breeding technologies can help reduce associated GHG emissions. Forestry and agroforestry play important roles as a carbon sink. Even though the amount of carbon that can be captured is limited, natural and sustainably managed forests can considerably help to mitigate GHG emissions from the AFOLU sector,” the report read.
While also giving other mitigating strategies, it stressed the need for governments to address issues on market-distorting agriculture subsidies.
“It has been shown that the most distortive forms of support also tend to be the most environmentally harmful. Many countries have taken significant steps in reforming support policies in early 2010, but further progress has been limited since then,” it added.
According to the report, market-based instruments that aim to reduce GHG emissions, such as carbon taxes, emissions trading schemes, and abatement payment schemes, are the most cost-effective ways to cut emissions from agriculture, even though they introduce different trade-offs for farmers, consumers, taxpayers and also challenging to implement.
However, it warned that;” if no further collective progress is made over the coming decade, direct and indirect emissions from agriculture could become the largest source of global emissions by mid-century, as more rapid decarbonisation is anticipated in other sectors (e.g. energy).
“The importance of sending clear and consistent policy signals to the agricultural sector cannot be overstated as the high levels of support to agriculture in many countries are likely to counteract the effectiveness of mitigation policies in many instances, raising concerns with regard to policy coherence.”