Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change

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Agricultural sector of an economy is the most crucial one in terms of providing food to the individuals of the nations as well as contributing to the exports and foreign exchange reserve of the country. The economy of the developing nations primarily depends on the agricultural sector as the occupation of most of the citizens pertain to this sector. This research paper depicts that the increasing population creates pressure on the agricultural sector of the economy as the existing land available for production of crop fails to feed the billions of the world. The sustainability of this sector for sustenance of life is threatened not only due to the increasing population but also for the climatic change that the world is witnessing. The paper reviews the existing research work undertaken by various scholars to determine the impact of climatic change on the sustainability of the agricultural sector. The sustainability issue of this sector is also analysed using the survey of literature and providing reasons other than the change in climate to explain as well as mitigate the problem. The paper concludes by providing implications of alteration of climate on the future of the agricultural sector and also identifies the requirement to undertake future research to provide solutions to mitigate this issue.

Survey of Literature

Wall and Smit (2005) suggest in their research paper that the agricultural sector continuously adapts itself to the transforming scenario to ensure sustainability as well as to feed millions of individuals across the world. The primary altering scenario pertains to the climatic change that the world is witnessing due to the increased pollutant in the atmosphere. The paper undertakes case studies of Canadian agricultural firms to analyse the adaption undertaken by the agricultural sector. The authors concluded that the government of the nation plays an effective role in the effective transformation of the sector to ensure its sustainability.

Howden, Soussana, Francesco, Tubiello, Chhetri, Dunlop and Meinke (2007) suggest the adaptive measures that the government as well as the farmers can undertake to ensure that the agriculture production is retained in the future. They also imply that moderate change in the climatic conditions is beneficial for the agricultural production. The researches recommended methods to mitigate the risks from drastic climatic transformations, which involves the policymakers of the nation to strategize relevant policies for the agricultural sector to ensure its sustainability.

The research paper of Tilman, Balzer, Hill and Befort (2011) depicts that the demand for food from all over the world is rapidly increasing owing to the pressure from the growing population. The authors describe that the agricultural land cannot be expanded any further as it affects the environment adversely. At the same time, the demand for food has also amplified on the recent years, which resulted in the global food crisis. The authors conclude that the crisis can be mitigated by undertaking extensive research and development pertaining to innovation of high yielding crops.

Pollution, global warming and the climate change are going to affect the sustainability and growth of the agriculture segment to a large extent and most of the nations, where economy is largely dependent on agriculture are focusing to address this issue (Cahill et al., 2014; Blaum, Griffin, Wiley & Britt, 2017; Wheeler & Von Braun, 2017). According to Costinot, Donaldson and Smith (2016), the average temperature of the earth surface is increasing on a regular basis and the main reason behind this change is the increasing volume of carbon dioxide. While discussing the impact of the same, Stern (2007) in his analysis has pointed out that this excess volume of carbon dioxide is not only a threat to the living being across globe, but at the same time it is an issue which will affect the agriculture as well.

According to analysis of Cook et al. (2013); Mach and Mastrandrea (2014), sustainable agriculture is one of the most important factors of modern era which is associated with use of technology that includes various biodynamic approach and organic materials. Nelson et al. (2014) in their review has mentioned that the idea of sustainable agriculture is helpful for people of the modern era to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides which had a negative impact on the overall process. According to Campbell, Thornton, Zougmoré, Van Asten, and Lippe (2014), to measure the adverse impact of the climate change, it is necessary to understand how the process of sustainable agriculture can improve the overall agricultural scenario across the globe and at the same time improve the quality of crop yields well.

The improvement in the sustainable agriculture is largely dependent on how research and development work is going on in different countries (Nelson et al., 2014). Rogers and Marres (2016) in their research have pointed out that continuous research work on the climate change and its impact on the overall society is the key to make people understand the significance of climate change, carbon emission and adverse impact of the greenhouse gas. This in turn, is helpful for the developing nation to improve the sustainable agriculture concept

In the era of globalization and industrialization, close to 40% of world population are still associated with agriculture and mostly the poor countries get affected by the climate change largely (Mach, 2017). According to Kaltenborn (2017); Grover, Brody and Vedlitz (2017), countries where agriculture is the main source of income, must ensure that it is adapting to the climate change by implementing strategies such as introducing the ideology of mono-cropping, popularizing the ideology of conventional soil and work on conventional crop. It would make sure that overall idea of sustainable agriculture is developing at a fast pace.

Trees often play a significant role in nitrogen fixing which helps in erosion of soil, which is one of the key reason behind climate change. It is also important for the administration across the globe to make sure that the volume of food wastage is reduced to minimum possible level (Urry, 2015). In support of this view, Seinfeld (2016) in his review has mentioned that a well-planned sustainable agriculture will help in reducing the cost in relation to food acquisition. As a result, it would help in saving resources for the future.

Conclusion and Implications


The increasing temperature of the earth captured by the high proportion of presence of carbon dioxide has altered the climatic pattern of the earth. The global warming, depletion of the ozone layer, and the decreasing forests of the world threaten the sustainability of the nature in the immediate future. The climatic change of the earth has adversely effected the lives of the human beings including the availability of food. The rise in population of the world reduces the per capita availability of agricultural land. Furthermore, the degradation of the environment has endangered the bio-diversity of the plant, which can be preserved by restoring the forests. This constraints the land from being used for the purpose of agriculture, contributing to the global food crisis. Besides, the sustainability of the agricultural sector is also endangered due to the transformation of the climate of the world. The sustainability of this sector could be ensured by utilizing the biodynamic materials. However, the human beings must identify the requirement of investing in research and development to innovate technologies that would ensure sustainability of the agricultural sector of the economy.


It has been identified by the scholars that the change in the climate of the planet has worse effects on the developing countries as compared to the developed nations. This is explained by the huge number of population of the developing nation who are engaged with the agricultural sector. The deterioration of the environment resulted in various adverse impacts including soil erosion that directly effects the productivity of the farming sector. Moreover, it has been recognized by the researchers that the inequality among the individuals of the nations as well as between various countries of the world is high. This leads to wastage of food by some people whereas the rest of the world is severely affected by the global food crisis and hunger (Neufeldt, Jahn, Campbell, Beddington, DeClerck, De Pinto & LeZaks, 2013). Therefore, individuals must use their rationality and discretion to combat the problem of sustainability of the agricultural sector.

The government has imposed taxes on the emission of carbon particles by the factories as part of the policy to ensure environmental sustainability (Metcalf & Weisbach, 2009). This reduces the negative externality of the industrial operations as well as secures the non-renewable resources of the nature for the future generation. Furthermore, the Cap-and-Trade System enables the companies to purchase and sell the permits of carbon emission so that they sensibly use the permits as well as enhance their economic benefits from the trade (Du, Ma, Fu, Zhu & Zhang, 2015). These systems focus on ensuring the sustainability of the agricultural sector as well as provide a scope for the policymakers and the research and development teams to introduce innovative as well as inexpensive techniques to mitigate the global crisis (Nelson, 2014).

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