World needs global food system overhaul: report

Jan 24, 2011
Customers eat lunch in Spitalfields Market in London. The world needs fundamental changes to the global food system to feed the expanding population, according to a British government report out Monday on how to feed the planet until 2050.

The world needs fundamental changes to the global food system to feed the expanding population, according to a British government report out Monday on how to feed the planet until 2050.

Governments must take action to change , cut waste, reduce subsidies and embrace genetically modified food, said the "Global Food and Farming Futures" report.

The study led by Professor John Beddington, the British government's chief scientific adviser, said that with the global population forecast to reach nine billion in 40 years' time, radical changes were needed to a system already struggling to feed the existing population.

"With the set to rise and food prices likely to increase, it is crucial that a wide range of complementary actions from policy makers, farmers and businesses are taken now," Beddington said.

"Urgent change is required throughout the food system to bring sustainability centre stage and end hunger. It is also vital for other areas, such as climate change mitigation, conflict, and economic growth."

The report found that the threat of hunger could increase, saying that current efforts were already stalling and could rise substantially over the next 40 years.

A food market in France. The world needs fundamental changes to the global food system to feed the expanding population, according to a British government report out Monday on how to feed the planet until 2050.

As spreads, the threat of migration and conflict will increase, while wider would also be affected, it said.

The global food system is already living beyond its means, consuming resources faster than they can be replenished, it said.

Substantial changes to water and and addressing climate change are needed to bring about , the report found.

It also warned that there was "no quick fix" to the problems.

Beddington said the world's food system was already failing on two counts.

"Firstly, it is unsustainable, with resources being used faster than they can be naturally replenished," he said.

"Secondly, a billion people are going hungry with another billion people suffering from 'hidden hunger', whilst a billion people are over-consuming."

The report said that new technologies such as genetic modification, cloned livestock and nanotechnology "should not be excluded a priori on ethical or moral grounds" and have the potential to be "very valuable for the poorest people in low-income countries".

A Pakistani mother holds her malnourished son at a relief camp in Sukkur. The world needs fundamental changes to the global food system to feed the expanding population, according to a British government report out Monday on how to feed the planet until 2050.

Meanwhile investment in technology research is "essential" given the magnitude of the food security challenges ahead.

Britain's Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said the report showed ways to unlock an "agricultural revolution in the developing world".

New strategies would "benefit the poorest the most, simply by improving access to knowledge and technology, creating better access to markets and investing in infrastructure".

Britain's International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said that "with one seventh of the world's population still hungry, the report was a clarion call to arms".

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User comments : 3

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ChiRaven
4.7 / 5 (3) Jan 24, 2011
You mean someone finally NOTICED? That's positively amazing. I thought all the government and the "progressives" had their heads buried in the sand and were so sure that we could get by just by avoiding GM foods, all going vegan, and shipping food to starving countries. Never mind that most such food is likely to be stolen by local strongmen and never GET to the people who actually NEED it.

Political solutions have to go hand in hand with technological solutions, or much of Africa and other areas will STAY in starvation, imposed on people by their own leaders.
ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2011
Political solutions have to go hand in hand with technological solutions, or much of Africa and other areas will STAY in starvation, imposed on people by their own leaders.


There is more than enough food for everyone in the world, and much left.

This problem is not technological one, but political and economical. It will not be solved by technology, and certainly not by GM food, or better infrastructure.

All that food and infrastructure will not help someone who simply does not have the money to buy the food.

Until the issue of poverty is solved, there will be hungry people in the world, even with GM and who knows what else..
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2011
Zimbabwe demonstrated what NOT, force productive farmers off the land.
Socialist Venezuela has food shortages.
Cuba is starting to understand and is allowing its victims to raise their own food and sell surplus. USSR started to do that in their final days as well.

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