Declining Biodiversity in Food and Agriculture is a Major Risk to Food Security: FAO's Report

According to the FAO’s Assessment report on “The state of worlds Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture” focussed on the role of rich biodiversity in food and agriculture production. To remove the hunger from the world is one of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of the United Nation. This report is about the sustainable use, development and conservation of biodiversity for food and agriculture.
Wild Food Diversity(Image: FAO)

Role of Biodiversity

To fulfill the need of world’s food demand, it is necessary to increase the productivity of agriculture. Thus to insure the food security, sustainable development and supply of other ecosystem services, biodiversity for food and agriculture is necessary. Biodiversity makes the production system and livelihoods more resilient to strokes and stresses including climate change effects. Rich biodiversity contributes to the livelihoods of many people, reducing the dependence on costly food production and the use of inputs that negatively affect the environment.

Drivers that affect the Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture

There are many factors adversely affecting the Biodiversity for food and agriculture:

  1. Population growth
  2. Deforestation
  3. Overfishing
  4. Overgrazing
  5. Overexploitation and overharvesting
  6. Pollution and overuse of chemicals in agriculture
  7. Natural Disasters

As these may inappropriate agricultural practices and may lead to the decline in the biodiversity of each ecosystem that effects food production. Loss and degradation of forest, land and aquatic ecosystem and in many other production system transition to a intensive production of reduced number of species, breeds and varieties remain a major driver for the loss of Biodiversity of food and agriculture and ecosystem services.

While 6000 species of plant is used for food production, just 9 of them account for two-third of all crop production. When it comes to a livestock, only a few breeds provide majority of meat production, many of the breeds are at the phase of extinction. Wild life species are also disappearing rapidly. Wild food products contribute to food security via a direct consumption and by being sold to provide income. Some of them are very rich in micro-nutrients.

Bringing Back Biodiversity

Many countries across the world have taken some initiatives to increase the biodiversity by adopting some policies, legal, institutional framework targets to sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity. Some of the examples are given below:

  • Operation manure pits adapted by country Burkina Faso to enhance or restore soil fertility by increasing the application of compost to field.
  • Fish poly-culture for improved nutrition in Bangladesh.
  • Californian farmers allow rice field after harvesting to flood in water instead of burning.
  • Smart-bees project is started in Europe for the conservation of endangered honey bees. After this project approx. 10 different subspecies has risen across Europe.
  • Integrated pest management in horticultural production is used in Almeria, Spain in which pests were regulated using biological control. 

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