Global food system needs massive overhaul
The report, Global Food and Farming Futures, notes that in today's world a billion people are over-consuming food, while almost double that number experience hunger or are missing vital elements from their diets. With the looming threat of climate change the experts say water and energy supplies will struggle to keep track with demand
The report calls for the urgent development of a multi-strand strategy to avoid food shortages that are likely to damage economic growth and lead to international tensions and even conflicts. Minimizing waste, changing diets, reducing subsidies and trade barriers, and linking food and agriculture policy to climate change mitigation, biodiversity and international development strategies are just some of the options put forward.
"The needs of a growing world population will need to be satisfied, as critical resources such as water, energy and land become increasingly scarce," wrote Professor Sir John Beddington, the UK government's chief scientific advisor, in the report's foreword. "The food system must become sustainable whilst adapting to climate change and substantially contributing to climate change mitigation."
With little land available for new agricultural development, the world must make the most out of its resources, the report continues. For example, a quarter of today's annual production could be saved by 2050 if the current levels of global food waste are halved. Controversially, the report also advises that genetically modified or cloned animals and nanotechnology must not be ruled out as a potential means of increasing food supplies.