Ten Problems for Agriculture in the 2020s

Booklet updated on 3 Jun 2022, now on sale as version 2.0

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Literature Review: Agriculture Problems for the 2020s

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ Strategic Framework 2022-31 [1] seeks to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable, agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind. The four betters represent an organising principle for how FAO intends to contribute directly to Sustainable Development Goal 1 (No poverty), SDG 2 (Zero hunger), and SDG 10 (Reduced inequalities) as well as to supporting achievement of the broader SDG agenda, which is crucial for attaining FAO’s overall vision.

Global agriculture is confronted by a number of substantial challenges, with some of them being existential. The principal challenge is climate change, which threatens desertification, with attendant increases in salinity, insect and animal infestations, and floods (as well as droughts). The agricultural sector in developing countries and less-developed countries is a source of employment and livelihood for the majority of the population, a major foreign exchange earner and supplier of raw materials to local industry, and has important potential for the economic development of those countries. However, the sector has been weak [2].

Ukraine wheat production for marketing year 2022/23 is forecast at 21.5 million metric tons, down 35 percent from last year, and down 23 percent from the 5-year average. The decrease in production year-to-year is due to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Yield is forecast at 3.68 tons per hectare, down 18 percent from last year, and down 9 percent from the 5-year average. Harvested area is forecast at 5.85 million hectares, down 21 percent from last year, and down 16 percent from the 5-year average [3].

Starting from such general references, this booklet identifies ten relevant issues, as put forward at academic level in the form of recent journal articles, conference proceedings or students’ theses. Four freely accessible internet references have been selected for each issue and direct links are provided at the end of each chapter for own consultation. Our references neither intend to mirror ranking indexes nor establish novel classifications. On the contrary, they are meant to represent peer-reviewed, scientifically-sound case studies for dissemination aimed at non-specialist readers. They will also offer even more references through their own bibliography list.

Without further ado, these are the “Ten Problems for Agriculture in the 2020s” that we are going to introduce in this booklet:

1- climate change,
2- precision agriculture,
3- crop planning,
4- climate-smart,
5- soil ecosystem,
6- entrepreneurship,
7- competitiveness,
8- sustainability,
9- developing countries,
10- biological control.

Each problem has its own dedicated chapter made of an introduction, a snippet from the 1st edition of this booklet, a short presentation of four new case studies, a conclusions section and the references list with links.

The final chapter of this booklet will report the conclusions from each chapter, again, in order to provide a complete executive summary.


[1] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Strategic Framework 2022-31. FAO: Rome, Italy, 2021.

[2] Blakeney, M. Agricultural Innovation and Sustainable Development. Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 2698.

[3] United States Department of Agriculture – Foreign Agricultural Service. World Agricultural Production, Circular Series, WAP 5-22, May 2022. USDA: Washington, United States, 2022.

“Ten Problems for Agriculture in the 2020s” booklet for Amazon Kindle, 2nd edition, 2022; click on the cover to go to the dedicated Amazon listing page