WHY IS AGRICULTURE IMPORTANT?
Over 20% of the world’s population is employed in agriculture supporting the remaining 80% with food production. Approximately 500 million of those people are subsistence or small-holder farmers, supporting 2 billion people by producing just enough to feed their families with little if any to sell to the market. Yet in 2012 global agricultural output topped $2 trillion, the sad reality of the global agricultural industry is that those who work the hardest and support the most people often live in severe or extreme poverty. Unable to make enough money to invest in growth, they live from season to season and are extremely vulnerable to climate change.
Women comprise up to 60% of the agricultural labour force worldwide and yet own far less of the land they work on than men. The gap becomes wider when considering land solely owned by women and is most significant in Sub-Saharan Africa, however work force numbers and ownership rates vary significantly across the planet.
Agriculture, being an essential industry for thousands of years, is intricately linked with Islam, the word ‘falah’ means not just ‘to plough’ but to ‘reap what is sown’ and ‘become happy’ and is sung as part of the call to prayer. Today up to 70% of water extracted from rivers and groundwater is for agricultural purposes, during the Islamic Agricultural Revolution Qanãts were used as a water conservation method delivering subterranean water to the surface, however today fast working water pumps are contributing to the severe problem of decreasing groundwater supplies.
Without sustainable agriculture our future is far from secure, use of pesticides and herbicides is causing severe harm to fragile ecosystems, aquifers are quickly being drained and each year desertification claims 12 million hectares of agricultural land. Sustainability is possible across all levels of the agricultural sector and is becoming increasingly important. Our projects focus on agriculture as a necessary source of income and encourage sustainability through faith in order to improve prospects for communities and the planet as a whole.