As the world population grows, so is the demand for food production. For years the agriculture sector has been raising its productivity through changes like implementing new technologies, mechanization, increasing chemical use, and government policies that favored maximizing production and reducing food prices. Although it allows farmers to produce more food and fiber at a lower price, it comes at a price for the environment.
The changes and innovation in agriculture have many positive effects, but sometimes it means cutting corners that have a long-term effect. Most notable are topsoil depletion, groundwater contamination, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, neglect of living and working conditions of farm laborers, and with the spread of new pathogens endangering human health and safety.
Agriculture has the main goal of providing food for the over nine billion people in the world. Despite the changes to raise production capacity, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the level of hunger and nutrients is still persistent and predicted to continue if there’s no mitigating change. To meet the growing food demand of the rising world’s population up to 2050 and the expected dietary changes, the FAO said that agriculture will need to produce 60 percent more food globally in the same period. While at the same time, roughly one-third of food produced is wasted globally through the supply chain, with an enormous financial and environmental cost. Facing these problems, there need to be changed to make agriculture practices more sustainable to secure the effort to eradicate hunger and food security.
What is sustainable agriculture?
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, sustainable agriculture is the management of land that has long-term productivity for the welfare of the community in the future. It can be achieved if good planning and techniques are used, covering concepts such as integration, diversity, following nature’s patterns, recycling and reuse of energy, and waste management.
The key challenges of sustainable agriculture are the growing scarcity and fast degradation of natural resources, where at a time the demand for food, feed, goods, and services that include crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries, and aquaculture is increasing rapidly. The natural sources of topsoil are rapidly decreasing with the expansion of urban cities and mismanagement. According to FAO, around 33 percent of the global soil is degraded, and experts estimate that there’ll only be 60 years of topsoil left.
Agriculture is also known to be a major contributor to climate change while at the same time a victim of its effect. The methane release from live crops and land management that require a lot of nonrenewable resources makes them a contributor to climate change. Climate change ironically affects the resilience of production systems and contributes to natural resource degradation. And as the earth’s temperature continues to rise, so is the frequency of extreme weather events like drought and flood that threaten successful crop growth. With that, sustainable agriculture offers a solution to mitigate these threats to become a near-future reality.
Benefits of sustainable agriculture
The positive benefits of sustainable agriculture can be felt in the environmental, social, and economic concerns. Its positive benefits include the point that it is ecologically stable, which means the quality of natural resources is maintained, and the capabilities of the agroecosystem as a whole – from humans, plants, and animals to soil organisms are enhanced. These two things can be achieved if the land is managed and the health of plants and animals, as well as the community, is maintained through biological processes or self-regulation while local resources are used in a friendly and renewable manner.
Sustainable agriculture, when done right, is economically sustainable. This means that farmers earn enough to meet their needs, according to the labor and costs incurred, and can conserve natural resources and minimize risks. The product of sustainable agriculture can also offer a cleaner, healthier source of food that is in high demand and can allow farmers to gain more profits.
While socially, sustainable agriculture is equitable, humane, and flexible. Equitable means that resources and power are distributed in such a way that the basic needs of all community members can be met as well as their rights to adequate land and capital, and technical assistance is guaranteed. While humane means that the basic dignity of all living things that went beyond just humans is respected and incorporates basic human values and includes maintaining the cultural and spiritual integrity of the community. Lastly, flexible means that rural communities can adapt to changes in business conditions that continue.
PT Pupuk Kaltim’s efforts to support sustainable agriculture
PT Pupuk Kalimantan Timur (Kaltim), a state-owned company, is continuing the government’s vision and goal of food security by providing farmers with high-quality products and assistance in sustainable agriculture. The company is responsible for distributing subsidized fertilizer to some parts of Indonesia. While at the same time providing assistance and education in farming techniques.
Recently PT Pupuk Kaltim took part in the success of the ‘Ponorogo Mandiri Benih’ or ‘Seed Independent Ponorogo’ which is marked by the harvest and procession of removing male cornflowers in Ponorogo Regency. As part of their Makmur program, PT Pupuk Kaltim along with the Ponorogo Government targets the production of corn seeds. The variety produced before his planting will later be named Reog 234 as a superior hybrid maize seed native to Ponorogo with the advantages of higher quality and yields farmers’ expectations.
This event also serves as an opportunity to introduce their newest product of NPK Pelangi JOS. A fertilizer that offers the best of inorganic and organic fertilizer by creating a fertilizer that has nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, enriched with superior microbes that are good for plants and soil in one practical product for the application.
“NPK Pelangi JOS is produced by Pupuk Kaltim to campaign for sustainable agriculture for farmers, to help preserve land and provide additional plant nutrients at the same time,” said PT Pupuk Kaltim Vice President of Marketing Business Partner, Indah Febrianty as reported by TribunNews.