The challenge – saving the environment while increasing agricultural production
A review of agricultural development in 57 low-income countries found that ecosystem farming led to average yield increases of almost 80 percent. (from the foreword of Save and Grow
“In order to grow, agriculture must learn to save. ” While there is continuing pressure to increase agricultural production to meet demands of a growing - and increasingly urban - population, it must not be at the expense of the environment.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the Green Revolution of the greatly increased agriculture production and food security. However, it often led to the degradation of natural resources , such as soil and water, that agriculture itself depends on.
Save and Grow – a new paradigm for sustainable agriculture
The Save and Grow approach seeks to increase production and reduce the negative impact of agriculture on the environment. It focuses on harnessing and enhancing nature’s contribution to crop growth – fertile soil, water, pollination, natural predation of pests. Appropriate external inputs are applied, only when necessary, at the right time and in the right amount.
Save and Grow depends on techniques including low tillage, biological control of pests, and cultivating varieties of crops most suitable for the local environment.
There is no single technology for intensifying production more sustainably in all cases – local knowledge is the key
Farmers must be at the centre of any programme for the sustainable intensification of production
Farmers must be able to earn more (or save time) by applying more sustainable methods – just being good for the environment in the long term is not sufficient
How the EU-FAO Programme contributes to Save and Grow
The programme supports the Save and Grow team's work in:
- organizing workshops and studies to gather lessons learned over the past 10 years in applying sustainable crop production intensification;
- developing guidelines, methods and training materials to support sustainable crop production intensification; and
- applying lessons learned in the field with partner countries.