Improving productivity can help reduce emissions by allowing agriculture to produce similar or higher amounts of food with fewer resources. These productivity improvements will be sustainable if they are backed by regulations and efforts to prevent forest clearing. Boosting productivity requires both adopting existing technologies and techniques more widely, and encouraging innovation.
One example is precision agriculture, where digital technologies such as global positioning systems and sensors are helping lower the amount of fertilisers contributing to emissions. For cattle, a leading source of agricultural emissions, improving feed quality and better matching it to the nutritional needs of cattle can help reduce emissions related to milk and meat production. Other innovations in breeding and animal health can also help cut emissions from cattle, while no-till farming can help reduce emissions from crop production.
More government effort is needed to improve agricultural innovation, both nationally and internationally, and to invest in research and development (R&D). Governments should improve public agricultural R&D funding, create the conditions to attract private investment and facilitate public-private partnerships, with the involvement of farmers and other stakeholders. They should also foster international R&D co-operation.