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Green Growth in the Agri-Food Sector
  Green Growth

Green growth is an approach to economic growth that prioritizes the sustainable use of natural resources. As an alternative to business-as-usual growth, it focuses on enhancing productivity through technology and knowledge dissemination while accounting for environmental impacts. The agri-food sector is the largest user of water and the food production and supply chain accounts for around 30 percent of total end-use energy consumption, so “greening” the value chain can have a significant impact on the overall shift towards sustainable production systems.

Current growth patterns are not sustainable: With the growing threat of climate change and the 2008 global crisis, many countries and businesses have agreed that greening economic growth is the way forward. A green growth strategy must encourage investment and innovation that underpins sustainable development and gives rise to new economic opportunities through partnerships between the private and public sectors. Government’s role is to create an enabling environment through market incentives, policies that foster green business development, and the removal of those policies that impede economic growth and environmental sustainability. This includes the promotion of innovative technologies and practices that reduce agri-food’s environmental footprint.

The achievement of sustainable long-term economic growth is vital for our future. By minimizing environmental damage and limiting resource use, a virtuous cycle can be created in which the results of green economic growth increase the demand for environmental and ecological stewardship, and provide the means to achieve it.

Green GrowthThe ECA region should grab this opportunity to green its economic performance given its untapped potential for agri-food production. Long-term strategies for the region to consider should focus on:

  • Limiting greenhouse gas emissions
  • Optimizing water withdrawal and exploitation
  • Optimizing energy consumption in the agri-food chain
The private sector has the potential to be the main vehicle for sustainable green growth. Green growth can help businesses gain a competitive advantage, and once they see that productivity and profitability can be maintained or increased, “green growth” will simply become “the new business-as-usual growth”. The first step is for governments to implement regulations, promote policies and set up institutions to support this movement.

Resources ConsumedEastAgri countries as a whole have decreased pressure on water resources as well as on energy consumed on-farm (to produce the same value of agricultural goods). However, GHG emissions from agriculture (without land-use change) remained stable over the same period.
Source: FAOSTAT, 2015
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