Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, domesticating species of plants and animals and creating food surpluses that nurtured the development of civilization. It began independently in different parts of the globe, both the Old and New World. Throughout history, agriculture played a dynamic role in expanding food supplies, creating employment, and providing a rapidly growing market for industrial products. Although subsistence, self-sufficient agriculture has largely disappeared in Europe and North America, it continues today in large parts of rural Africa, and parts of Asia and Latin America. While traditional forms of agricultural practices continue to exist, they are overshadowed by the global industrialization of agriculture, which has accelerated in the last few decades. Yet, commercial agriculture differs significantly from subsistence agriculture, as the main objective of commercial agriculture is achieving higher profits.
Farmers in both the core and the periphery have had to adjust to many changes that occurred at all levels, from the local to the global. Although states have become important players in the regulation and support of agriculture, at the global level, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has significant implications in agriculture. Social reactions to genetically engineered foods have repercussions throughout the world food system. Currently, the focus is especially on the option that a balanced, safe, and sustainable approach can be the solution not only to achieve sustainableintensification of crop productivity but also to protect the environment. Therefore, agriculture has become a highly complex, globally integrated system, and achieving the transformation to sustainable agriculture is a major challenge.