Improving and preserving land and water

Land and water resources are central to the health of the global food system. Not only are they the foundation of food production, they provide the very basis of human livelihood, offer needed ecosystem services, and play a vital role in mitigating climate change. The way we use land and water in food production will make the difference as we work toward a sustainable and fair food system that can nourish a growing population.

Resources under pressure

To feed a growing world population – expected to approach 10 billion by 2050 – agricultural production will need to become at once more productive and less resource hungry. Agriculture today covers about 50 percent of the world’s habitable land. At the same time, the food and agricultural sectors consume some 70 percent of available freshwater.

Topsoil has eroded from about a third of global farmland, at a rate vastly higher than the soil formation rate. Meanwhile, native forests and vegetation are being converted to farmland and pasture at the expense of biodiversity, weather pattern regulation, carbon sequestration, and human rights. Climate change impacts intensify the situation. If pre- and post-production activities are included, our food system alone produces between 21 and 37 percent of human-generated emissions.

An opportunity

It’s clear: we face major challenges if we want to feed the world while protecting producer livelihoods and safeguarding the environment. But there are also huge opportunities – and agriculture is poised to be an essential part of the solution. Using timeworn best practices that respect nature, plus data collection and digital technologies, food and agricultural producers are already reshaping the future of food. In doing so, they are strengthening their businesses against uncertainties including: shifting consumer demands for sustainability, changing environmental legislation, climate change impacts and resource limitations.

Working together

As one of the largest food and agricultural banks in the world, Rabobank is helping build a global food system that can feed a growing population while respecting planetary boundaries. Rabobank is convinced that a more productive, less resource-intensive food system is possible. That we can transition our use of farmland so that it not only preserves, but restores soil health and biodiversity. That food production can consume less water while also protecting natural water resources.

With its reach across the entire food value chain, Rabobank is in a unique position to support clients and partners by making connections and sharing knowledge. By innovating. By cooperating on new tools, financial products and business models. Together, we can accelerate the transition to a food system that respects and protects the precious land and water resources that sustain it.

Here are just some of the ways Rabobank uses knowledge and innovation, financial solutions, and its global F&A networks to support clients to improve and preserve land and water resources:

Financial products and partnerships