Toward climate-smart farming

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Toward climate-smart farming

The Earth is getting warmer, and Korea is warming up especially fast. In the past 100 years, the global average temperature went up by 0.75 degrees Celsius, and Korea’s average temperature increased by 1.8 degrees Celsius. By 2050, the global average is expected to go up by 2.3 degrees Celsius with Korea’s average going up by 3.4 degrees Celsius. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if the current trend of global warming continues, global food production would decrease by 8 percent by year 2050.

It is our duty to minimize the adverse impact of global warming. Korea’s food self-sufficiency rate fell from 55.7 percent in 1995 to 49.8 percent in 2014. The agricultural population decreased from 4 million in 2000 to 2.8 million in 2013. And as of 2013, 53.3 percent of the farming population is over age 65, and the aging of the agricultural industry is serious. The government is pushing a “Triple Wins” policy of adapting to climate change, maintaining food production and reducing green house gases.

The first is a policy to enhance the Korean agricultural industry’s capacity of responding to drastic climate changes. As the climate is increasingly becoming subtropical, suitable breeds and cultivation techniques are developed, and disease control to prevent foreign insect pests and domestic animal diseases is implemented.

Next is the policy to expand production bases for stable food production. For efficient management of outstanding farmlands, agricultural promotion zones are protected and developed. Also, production infrastructure, such as agricultural water development and drainage improvement to resolve water shortage and flooding, is consistently developed.

The last is the policy to reduce greenhouse gases in the agricultural and food industry. To cut the use of fossil fuels in the agricultural industry, energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies are distributed. Environmentally-friendly farming would also reduce the use of chemical fertilizers.

On June 17, the OECD hosts the Coherent Policies for Climate Smart Agriculture workshop. It will be an opportunity to seek wise solutions to find harmony among three seemingly contradictory concepts of adapting to climate change, improved agricultural productivity and greenhouse gas reduction.

by Yeo In-hong, Vice Minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs

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