Farms accounts for nearly three-quarters of all water use. Agriculture is both affected by climate change and a significant carbon emitter. The sector employs most of the world’s poor, including hundreds of millions of women. Investments in agriculture are key to reaching many of the Sustainable Development Goals.
And yes, growing food is key to ending hunger (SDG №2). As the United Nations gathers this week at the “High Level Political Forum” to take stock of progress on the 17 goals, Yvonne Harz-Pitre, co-chair of Farming First, a global agriculture coalition, offers some examples in Devex of such global goal two-fers. The Sustainable Guar Initiative, for example, has trained 320 women and established 277 kitchen gardens in India, “not only making progress toward ending hunger, but also improving health and promoting gender equality in the household — ticking off two more SDGs in just one intervention,” writes Harz-Pitre.
Protecting the genetic diversity of plant and animal species around the world (SDG №2.5) is important for breeding better crops and animals resistant to the new pests, diseases and temperatures. Groups like the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center are preserving genebanks for research. Investments in soil health for smallholder farmers in Kenya are sustainably boosting yields and farmer incomes (SDG №2.4).
To help close the $200 billion gap in smallholder finance and boost farmer incomes (SDG №2.3), Vodacom in Tanzania is using data and credit scoring algorithms to boost lending to small holders. Investments in malnutrition (SDG №2.2), especially childhood malnutrition, return $16 for every dollar invested, according to the ONE Campaign.