Sustainable agriculture

Green growth for food, agriculture and fisheries


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OECD/BIAC Workshop, 24 April 2013

Green Growth in the Agro-Food Chain:
What Role for the Private Sector?

More on this workshop

Global demand for food is estimated to double by 2050. Natural resources for agriculture and fisheries (such as land and water) will come under increasing pressure from urbanisation and industrialisation. 

Farming and fishing have significant impacts on the environment. Climate change will also have an effect on agriculture and food production.

The challenge for policy makers is to meet increasing demands for food and resources while minimising environmental and social pressure. 

Green growth means promoting economic growth while reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, minimising waste and inefficient use of natural resources, and maintaining biodiversity. A greener and more effective food chain can contribute substantially to sustainable growth and food security, and pave the way for less pressure on marine and land resources.


Did you know?

  • Agriculture uses on average over 40% of water and land resources in OECD countries.
  • More than 1 billion people depend on fish as their main source of protein.
  • 47% of the world's population, mainly in developing countries, will be living under severe water stress by 2050, according to OECD projections.
  • An increase of 3° to 5° in global mean temperatures would result in a fall in maize and wheat yields, high production losses of pigs and confined cattle, and increased heat stress and mortality in livestock.


The Blue Economy

The oceans have long been the centre of economic activity. People have been living near the sea, feeding themselves by fishing and making their livelihoods on the coast for thousands of years.

Fisheries will be crucial in feeding a global population set to rise by 2 billion over the next 40 years. The challenge today is harnessing the potential of this Blue Economy.

More on OECD work on fisheries

See also:

Elinor Ostrom on managing common pool resources

Nobel economics laureate Elinor Ostrom published groundbreaking work on how and why people organise themselves to manage common natural resources. Visiting OECD in 2011, she explained the benefits of this system.

Fisheries: Preserving stocks, keeping jobs

How can we build a sustainable fishing industry that maintains healthy fish stocks and valued employment? Fisheries policy analyst Saba Khwaja talks about OECD work on this subject, while fish seller Antoine Mallaird tells us about the changes he's seen in his business.

Water use in agriculture: Farmers should go green

Farming accounts for 70 percent of water used in the world today, depleting supplies and polluting lakes and rivers. Kevin Parris, agriculture expert at the OECD, says climate change and water scarcity will mean farmers have be more efficient - use less water to produce the same amount of food at the same price.


Focus on...


Agriculture and climate change
Agriculture is having to adapt to the impacts of climate change, while at the same time provide food for a growing population and meet environmental objectives.


Environmental performance of agriculture
The environmental performance of agriculture across the OECD has improved. What policy measures and approaches do countries use?


Climate change and fisheries
Climate change effects on fish stocks will have social and economic effects on fisheries and coastal communities.


Water use in agriculture
Agriculture is the major user of water in many countries. However, pressure from urbanisation, industrialisation and climate change means that efficient water management in agriculture is critical.



Click on image to read online versions

  Policy Instruments to Support Green Growth in Agriculture

Published October 2013


OECD Green Growth Studies: Policy Instruments to Support Green Growth in Agriculture

This report synthesises the experience of OECD countries in developing and implementing policies, programmes and initiatives related to green growth in the agricultural sector, based primarily on material provided by governments. It discusses the overall approach that countries are taking towards establishing a green growth strategy in agriculture; the implementation of the OECD framework for monitoring progress towards green growth in agriculture; and the various policy instruments used.

A key conclusion is that while most countries have some policies in place that relate to the concept of green growth, the degree of ambition shows considerable variation. A wide range of instruments and “policy mixes” are applied across OECD countries, with the majority appearing to have strategic objectives that cover a wide range of subjects related to green growth, particularly in the area of improving energy efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint of agriculture. A coherent overall policy framework that has clear objectives, sets R&D priorities, and policy measures that are targeted and implemented at the appropriate levels are essential to establish a comprehensive strategy for green growth in agriculture.

Cette publication sera bientôt disponible en français.

Further reading:

Food and Agriculture Water Quality and Agriculture | OECD Free preview | Powered by Keepeek Digital Asset Management Solution Farmer Behaviour, Agricultural Management and Climate Change | OECD Free preview | Powered by Keepeek Digital Asset Management Solution
OECD Green Growth Studies:
Food and Agriculture
Water Quality and Agriculture:
Meeting the Policy Challenge
Farmer Behaviour, Agricultural Management
and Climate Change

See also:

>> See all OECD publications on food, agriculture and fisheries



For more information on OECD work on agriculture, fisheries and food, write to the OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate at


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