July 2014

Sustainable Intensification of European Agriculture


Sustainable Intensification of existing agricultural land to avoid further degradation of natural forest, grassland and wild areas is a logical and generally accepted concept. This article looks at a recently published report which examines in some detail what sustainable intensification should mean in the context of the already intensive agriculture of the European Union which has been associated with environmental damage. The conclusion is that the emphasis must be on sustainability, but that this concept is not well served by the lack of evidence on what are truly unsustainable practices, the multiplicity of approaches to sustainability indicators, and the lack of farm-level measures and benchmarks.

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OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook for 2014-2023


The annual OECD and FAO agricultural Outlook for the forthcoming decade, 2014 – 2023 was launched on 11 July. The Outlook projects a slower growth rate for consumption of agricultural products compared to the past decade. At an EU level, consumption growth will likely fall below the previous decade’s growth rate. Global agricultural production growth is projected to increase, particularly for livestock and dairy production, this implies greater demand and subsequent production of feed grains and oilseeds. This projected production growth is expected to occur mostly in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe (both EU and non-EU countries) and parts of Asia. Production growth in Western Europe is expected to increase very slightly. The increased crop production is expected to result predominantly from yield increases and domestic policies are also expected to have a growing influence on production levels. The projected consumption and productions trends are expected to result in slowly declining prices in real terms.

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