OECD Green Growth Studies

2222-9523 (online)
2222-9515 (print)
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The OECD Green Growth Strategy aims to provide concrete recommendations and measurement tools, including indicators, to support countries’ efforts to achieve economic growth and development, while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which well-being relies. The strategy proposes a flexible policy framework that can be tailored to different country circumstances and stages of development.

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Farm Management Practices to Foster Green Growth

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23 Feb 2016
9789264238657 (PDF) ;9789264238640(print)

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This report looks at farm management practices with green growth potential, from farmer-led innovations (such as those directly linked to soil and water, Integrated Pest Management, organic farming) to science-led technologies (such as biotechnology and precision agriculture). Global food demand can only be met in a sustainable way if new forms of agricultural production and innovative technologies can be unlocked to increase the productivity, stability, and resilience of production systems with goals beyond just raising yields, including saving water and energy, reducing risk, improving product quality, protecting the environment and climate change mitigation.

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  • Foreword

    Green growth strategies in agriculture need to meet global food demand by fostering innovation and improving productivity in a sustainable way. This, as demonstrated by OECD work, is a sina qua non.

  • Executive summary

    The efficient use of resources has become a key priority for policymaking in OECD countries and a core element of green growth strategies. This document provides a synoptic review of a selection of farm management practices with green growth potential, such as those relating to soil and water, organic agriculture and Integrated Pest Management (IPM), biotechnology and precision agriculture. The focus on these farm management practices does not, however, imply that other farm practices are not beneficial to green growth.

  • Investigating farm management practices that may foster green growth

    This chapter outlines the structure of the full report. Based on a review of the literature, the report analyses the potential effects of key farm management practices on resource productivity and efficiency compared with conventional agriculture. Although only a selection of farm management practices are analysed, all farm management systems – from intensive conventional farming to organic farming and science-led technologies – have the potential to contribute to green growth. Whether they do or not in practice will depend on whether farmers adopt the appropriate technology and practices. This, in turn, will strongly depend on whether the right policy framework is in place. More intensive farming systems can co-exist with more extensive systems, with the overall effect of increasing productivity and natural resource efficiency in a sustainable manner. The selected practices examined include soil and water conservation practices, integrated pest management, organic farming, modern agricultural biotechnology, and precision agriculture.

  • The role of soil and water conservation in the transition to green growth

    This chapter examines soil and water farm management practices and their impact on resource productivity and efficiency. Soil-related problems are interlinked and there is generally no single solution, but rather a wide range of solutions that address multifaceted soil problems. The attempt to institutionalise these solutions and address nation-wide soil problems, however, has led many countries to adopt mandatory soil conservation policies that are often linked to their agricultural policies and support payments. Several land management practices as they affect water conservation are also considered. The practices examined include the preparation of fields for efficient irrigation and management of excess water, on-farm water delivery systems and the application of irrigation practices, irrigation water use management, and protecting water from non-point source pollution and sedimentation. The empirical challenges of assessing these impacts on productivity, efficiency and innovation are discussed.

  • What does organic farming mean for green growth?

    Organic agriculture is an approach to food production that seeks to develop environmental and economically sustainable production systems with a strong emphasis on the use of local, renewable resources and minimum use of external inputs. Since the 1970s, a global market has developed for organic products, and legally enforced production standards have been introduced to benefit producers and consumers. Over the last two decades, organic farming has become one of the most thriving segments of the agricultural sector in several OECD countries. This chapter discusses the various policy approaches used by OECD countries to support organic farming, and the potential impacts of organic farming on resource efficiency and productivity.

  • Unleashing the green growth potential of integrated pest management

    This chapter examines the principles, concepts and practices of integrated pest management practices (IPM) and their impact on resource efficiency and productivity. It is argued that IPM can have win-win-win benefits for profitability, the environment and human health. In most OECD countries, IPM adoption is primarily in response to demand for improved food safety and lower health risks from both consumers and producers.

  • How critical is modern agricultural biotechnology in increasing productivity sustainably?

    This chapter provides a succinct synthesis of the potential impacts of agricultural biotechnology on resource productivity and efficiency in OECD countries in comparison with conventional agricultural practices and identifies some of the associated main policy issues. Although this chapter touches on the full range of agricultural biotechnology tools and applications, the main focus is on disease-, insect- and pesticide-resistant and drought-tolerant crops.

  • Is precision agriculture the start of a new revolution?

    Precision agriculture is a whole-farm management approach with the objective of optimising returns on inputs, while improving agriculture’s environmental footprint. Precision farming is a relatively new management practice which has been made possible by the development of information technology and remote sensing. A wide range of technologies is available, but the most widely adopted precision farming technologies are knowledge-intensive. Information on precision agriculture adoption is based on sporadic and geographically dispersed surveys as countries do not regularly collect data. Although the main focus of precision agriculture has been on arable crop production, precision farming technologies are also applicable to the entire agro-food production system (i.e. animal industries, fisheries, forestry). This chapter examines the concept and use of precision farming in OECD countries, the key impediments to nurturing its green growth potential, and its impact on resource efficiency and productivity.

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