Agriculture is the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products. Agricultural science has focused on boosting production through the development of new technologies. It has achieved enormous yield gains as well as lower costs for large-scale farming. But this success has come at a high environmental cost.
The agricultural community has along supported new techniques that improve production and help make food even more affordable for consumers. For example, animals and crops have been selected for breeding for centuries resulting in improved disease resistance and bigger yields. Biotechnology simply gives the farmers the tools to speed up this process.
Today’s world is a place of uneven development, unsustainable use of natural resources, worsening impact of climate change, and continued poverty and malnutrition. Poor food quality and diets are partly responsible for the increase of chronic diseases like obesity and heart disease. Agriculture is closely linked to these concerns, including the loss of biodiversity, global warming and water availability.
Agriculture has contributed to climate change in many ways, for instance through the conversion of forests to farmland and the release of greenhouse gases. Conversely, climate change now threatens to irreversibly damage natural resources on which agriculture depends.