Dec 062014

One of the speakers at the recent Economist World in 2015 event in Sydney was National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson who described the challenges facing the world’s agriculture industry.

Much of Richardson’s presentation was taken from his series of photographs featuring farmers with their soil and National Geographic’s Feeding Nine Billion People feature.

A striking comment Richardson made in his presentation was how a poor rice farmer in South Asia is actually able to feed from people from their small landholding than a US broadacre farmer. This speaks volumes about how we’ve organised our food supply chains and raises questions on how sustainable our practices are.

In Agriculture, as in many other fields of our life today, we’re looking at major changes to the way we organise production and distribute goods. Richardson’s presentations are well worth considering in how the western world maintains it’s own standards of living while the rest of the planet looks at how it improves their’s.

Despite being essential to our very lives, the quality and availability of arable soil is one of the most neglected aspects of our global development. Jim Richardson’s photos remind us of its importance.