By 2050, the world will need to find enough food to feed 10 billion people. That’s a lot of mouths to feed, and some estimates suggest that food production will have to increase by 70% in order to meet demand. Currently, one in nine people in the world do not have enough food to eat.
There’s a big debate going on about the use pesticides across Europe at the moment. Given that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that up to 40% of global crop yields are lost each year due to pests, can food production be increased without relying on conventional farming techniques such as pesticides?
There’s an extra complication. It’s obviously not enough to feed more people. Given that we live on a planet with limited resources, it’s also important to grow food in a sustainable way. That means preserving and protecting our environment, and growing crops without degrading soil quality, biodiversity, or creating too many carbon emissions.
So, we’re opening up a debate on the question of sustainable agriculture. Is it possible without using pesticides? Can we feed a growing population without relying on conventional farming methods? Or are there safe and sustainable ways to use pesticides?
What do our readers think? We had comment sent in from Kevin, who believes that sustainable agriculture is not possible if pesticides are used. Is he right?
To get a reaction, we put Kevin’s comment to Céline Charveriat, Executive Director at the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP). How would she respond?
For another perspective, we also took Kevin’s comment to Professor Emilio González-Sanchez, General Secretary at the European Conservation Agriculture Federation (ECAF). What would he say?
We also put Kevin’s comment to Faustine Bas-Defossez, Policy Manager for Agriculture and Bioenergy at European Environmental Bureau (EEB). What would she say to Kevin?
Finally, we approached David Cary, Executive Director at the International Biocontrol Manufacturers Association (IBMA). What did he have to say?
Sustainable agriculture: With or without pesticides? Can we feed 10 billion people without using conventional farming techniques? Are tougher rules needed (as the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food has argued) to ensure pesticides are used in a sustainable way? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reaction!