World Agriculture Day is celebrated on 9 September as a tribute to those who dedicate their lives to cultivating the land in order to produce food of the highest quality for consumption.
In Spain, agriculture is a very important sector since it employs 4% of the active population and occupies 40% of the national territory. It is also important to highlight the economy that moves the food industry and food distribution since almost half of the road freight transport in the European Union is agro-food products.
The problem with this activity is that it contributes, at the same time that it suffers considerably, to the greenhouse effect and to climate change.
How does agriculture contribute to climate change?
Agriculture contributes more than 20% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (due to the use of chemicals and pesticides). In addition, agricultural intensification has had considerable impacts to the detriment of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems worldwide. Taking into account the above plus all the energy used in agriculture, emissions can exceed 30% of total emissions from all sectors.
How does climate change affect agriculture?
In this described context, we also know that agriculture is one of the sectors that suffers most from the effects of climate change. Heat waves, scarcity of water, loss of fertility in certain blooms and low livestock yields, among many others, are some of the consequences that this has on agriculture. In fact, one more year we have seen how heat waves have affected vineyards that have perished even when irrigated and how the absence of rain and hail can reduce the oil harvest by 40%, of which Spain is the world’s leading producer.
This is why the future of agriculture in Spain depends, to a large extent, on its adaptation to new challenges: climate change and new consumption habits. To do this, it will be necessary to create barriers, develop sustainable agricultural practices, consult specialists, associate old and new practices, always taking care of the soil and also preserving our environment.