Global population is expected to rise from 7.3 billion people today to 9.7 billion in 2050, according to the United Nations. This means that the world will need 60% more food and 30% more water for agriculture.
But land availability and food production are already decreasing. Agriculture is also responsible for 10% of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The European Union hopes that the new Common Agricultural Policy or CAP will help feed the world while decreasing its environmental footprint. 112.5 billion euros of the total CAP budget are earmarked to promote green policies, such as maintaining permanent pasture and diversifying cultivation. So the new CAP is 155% greener than the last 6 year period.
It also aims at boosting innovation and making the EU agricultural sector more ‘digital’, which is key to tackling the current challenges. An increasing number of EU farmers already use smartphone apps to manage their fields. Others are entering the precision farming era. By using sensors, farmers use pesticides or fertilisers more efficiently, therefore protecting the environment while increasing production. From the consumer side, new apps can help consumers find out how ‘green’ the products they buy are.
The European Commission hopes that this new knowledge will help farmers and industry respond to the challenge of food safety, climate change, growth and jobs in rural areas.