Over the coming 35 years, agriculture will face an unprecedented confluence of pressures, including a 30 percent increase in the global population, intensifying competition for increasingly scarce land, water and energy resources, and the existential threat of climate change.
To provide for a population projected to reach 9.3 billion in 2050 and support changing dietary patterns, estimates are that food production will need to increase from the current 8.4 billion tonnes to almost 13.5 billion tonnes a year.
Achieving that level of production from an already seriously depleted natural resource base will be impossible without profound changes in our food and agriculture systems.
We need to expand and accelerate the transition to sustainable food and agriculture which ensures world food security, provides economic and social opportunities, and protects the ecosystem services on which agriculture depends.
This report is aimed primarily at policy makers and others who make or influence national and institutional decisions and actions.
It is the outcome of intensive consultations and discussions aimed at developing a common approach to FAO's work on sustainability.
That process was conducted in a climate of cross-sectoral collaboration that drew on the contributions of leading specialists in crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries, aquaculture, and natural resources.
It builds on the Organization's long experience in developing sustainability concepts, approaches and tools, and offers a common vision of the agriculture sector and of the inter-sectoral synergies aiming at making agriculture more productive and sustainable.