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Agricultural Revolution Needed To Feed The World

UK - A report published today, highlights the decisions that policy makers must make today and in the near future, to ensure that a global population rising to nine billion or more can be fed sustainably and equitably.

The Foresight report makes a compelling case for urgent action to redesign the global food system to meet the challenge of feeding the world over the next 40 years.

Professor Sir John Beddington, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Foresight programme, said: “The Foresight study shows that the food system is already failing in at least two ways. Firstly, it is unsustainable, with resources being used faster than they can be naturally replenished. Secondly, a billion people are going hungry with another billion people suffering from ‘hidden hunger’, whilst a billion people are over-consuming.

“The project has helped to identify a wide range of possible actions that can meet the challenges facing food and farming, both now and in the future.”

UK Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: “We need a global, integrated approach to food security, one that looks beyond the food system to the inseparable goals of reducing poverty, tackling climate change and reducing biodiversity loss – and the UK Government is determined to show the international leadership needed to make that happen.”

“We can unlock an agricultural revolution in the developing world, which would benefit the poorest the most, simply by improving access to knowledge and technology, creating better access to markets and investing in infrastructure.

“To fuel this revolution, we must open up global markets, boost global trade and make reforms that help the poorest. Trade restrictions must be avoided, especially at times of scarcity. And we must manage price volatility by building trust and cooperation – and in particular by creating greater transparency around the true levels of food stocks.”

The report’s main findings are:

Threat of hunger could increase: Efforts to end hunger internationally are already stalling, and without decisive action food prices could rise substantially over the next 40 years making the situation worse. This will affect us all - as more of the world suffers from hunger social tensions will increase, as will the threat of conflict and migration. Wider economic growth will also be affected.

The global food system is living outside its means, consuming resources faster than are naturally replenished. It must be redesigned to bring sustainability centre stage: Substantial changes will be required throughout the food system and related areas, such as water use, energy use and addressing climate change, if food security is to be provided for a predicted nine billion or more people out to 2050.

There is no quick fix: The potential threats converging on the global food system are so great that action is needed across many fronts, from changing diets to eliminating food waste.

the Fish Site Editor

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