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Approximately 70 percent of the rural poor rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. In developing countries, it is a major occupational sector and primary source of income for the poor. World Bank statistics (2014) show that, whereas agriculture value-added as a percentage of GDP is 3 per cent for the world on average, it is 32 per cent for low-income countries.

Greening the agricultural sector involves addressing poverty as well as meeting the nutritional needs of a growing global population while also minimizing the environmental degradation associated with certain agricultural practices. According to UNEP’s Green Economy Report, the greening of agriculture refers to the increasing use of farming practices and technologies that simultaneously:

  • Maintain and increase productivity and profitability while ensuring sustainability of food and ecosystem services;
  • Reduce negative externalities (e.g. emissions) and gradually increase positive ones (e.g. carbon sink or biodiversity); 
  • Rebuild natural capital assets by using resources more efficiently.

Relevance to SDGs

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 emphasizes the need for a global partnership to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture”. Green growth has an important role to play in fostering interlinkages between sustainable agriculture and the empowerment of smallholder farmers, ending rural poverty and promoting gender equality.

Explore green growth resources related to SDG 2: 

SDG 2.3
   SDG 2.4
   SDG 2.b
Agri-food Trade


International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development
United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)

Case Studies

Government of Rwanda, National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR), Ministry of Environment of Rwanda, Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES), World Bank Group
Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES), World Bank Group, Southern Palawan Technical Working Group


Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH