The report … renews the [Food and Agricultural Organization]”s focus on “climate-smart agriculture,” which combines both adaptation and mitigation in improved farming systems. One of its three key principles is “sustainably increasing agricultural productivity to support equitable increases in incomes, food security, and development.” Examples suggested by the FAO include the adoption of heat- and drought-resistant varieties of important crops, as well as expanding irrigation and the adoption of conservation agriculture.
While statements by FAO officials have often been equivocal about biotechnology over the years, the 2016 report does contain a strong paragraph of endorsement:
Biotechnologies, both low- and high-tech, can help small-scale producers in particular to be more resilient and to adapt better to climate change. While the subsections that follow focus mainly on innovation through management practices, some practices may depend on the outcomes of biotechnology, such as improved seed.
…[T]he FAO does make clear in the report that there need be no either-or approach to different climate-smart agriculture approaches.
The FAO report also points out that – despite the oft-heard criticisms of “industrial agriculture” – yield improvements in modern farming have historically been an important contributor to reducing agricultural emissions.
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