Global agricultural adjustments

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  • A major task of our time is to ensure adequate food supplies for the world’s current population (now nearing 7 billion) in a sustainable way while protecting the vital functions and biological diversity of the global environment. The task of providing for a growing population is likely to be even more difficult in view of actual and potential changes in climatic conditions due to global warming, and as the population continues to grow. Current projections suggest that the world’s temperatures will rise 1.8–4.

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  • Sewage sludge has been used in agriculture over a long time. Since 1986 the utilization of sewage sludge has been subject to provisions stipulated in the EU Directive (86/278/EEC). The Directive sets out requirements with respect to the quality of sludge, the soil on which it is to be used, the loading rate, and the crops that may be grown on treated land. The European Commission considers that 86/278/EEC has been a success because there have been no reports of adverse effects wherever it has been applied.

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  • Global agriculture is now at the crossroads. The Green Revolution of the last century that gave many developing countries such as India a breathing spell, enabling them to adjust the growth of their human populations better to the supporting capacity of their ecosystems, is now in a state of fatigue. Average growth rates in food production as well as factor productivity in terms of yield per unit of mineral fertilizer (NPK) are both declining.

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