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Human food production at risk, warns the FAO

News Section Icon Published 22/02/2019

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Today (22nd February) the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has published its first report on the State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture, presenting evidence on the decline and deterioration of the natural support systems that help the production of human food.

We welcome this report which addresses the serious problems associated with industrial agricultural systems and their impact on biodiversity for food and agriculture.

Severe warning for world food production

The FAO report, which collates data from 91 countries, provides evidence on significant losses of genetic diversity in livestock and crop species, soil biodiversity, insect and pollinator species, forests, grasslands, seagrass and mangrove areas, as well as coral reefs. In the oceans, 33% of fish stocks are estimated to be overfished while there is a debilitating loss of inland and coastal wetlands around the world.

Inappropriate agricultural and unsustainable management practices such as over-exploitation, reliance on pesticides and herbicides and intensive farming of a limited number of crop species, were identified as some of the drivers that negatively impact biodiversity. Others include high rates of land conversion, pollution, over-exploitation of water supplies and climate change.

The detrimental impact of factory farming

Intensive animal farming is one of the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss and species extinction. It not only causes suffering to millions of animals, but it pollutes our planet and deprives it of valuable resources.

“Factory farming is cruel, inefficient, hugely wasteful, and – as this report shows – deeply damaging to the ecosystems needed to produce food in the first place”, says Philip Lymbery, our CEO. “In essence, this report is a further wake-up call on the need for an essential connection between farming, nature and food.”