Feeding people while protecting resources
Developing countries must find more efficient
and sustainable ways to produce more food to fight against poverty,
and at the same time protect the natural environment from problems
that can sometimes be brought about by agricultural practices.
Statistics show that the world is desperate for successful research
in this area: 1.5 billion people live in absolute poverty, and
800 million simply do not have enough to eat now. Experts fear
the onset of a structural famine in less than 20 years, affecting
South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
These problems put enormous pressure on natural
resources, land, fresh-water and biodiversity resources; but it
is virtually impossible to increase the land available for agricultural
use without damaging ecosystems, in particular fragile rain forests.
The answer is that the world has to use what it has now but must
do things better.
INCO offers a framework for progress via joint
research to increase agricultural production and to use land and
water more efficiently through a variety of projects. In terms
of policy, the programme refuses to countenance old ways that
so damaged the environment and were marked by poor practices such
as 'slash and burn', overuse of pesticides and fertilisers, and
poor water management. In addition, it tries to modify the approach
to agricultural research by promoting greater participation of
INCO's work here covers a variety of areas such
as plant crop production, food crops, cash crops and agro-forestry,
food and non-food processing.