A United Nations report, published to coincide with World Food Day, has warned that unless there is more action to preserve the ecological foundation of the world's food system we will witness serious food shortages as the planet's population rises to over nine billion by 2050.
The report is a unique collaboration by 12 leading scientists and food system experts, including Dr David Barling and Professor Tim Lang from City's Centre for Food Policy, as well as organisations including the World Bank and the World Food Programme.
In their chapter, entitled "Increasing Resource Efficiencies: Sustainable Consumption and Production of Food Systems" Dr Barling and Professor Lang outline a plan to make food consumption more sustainable and to increase resource efficiency, as well as reduce the wastage associated with food production, processing, supply, sale and consumption.
One of the key concerns is the way in which current patterns of food consumption are posing a significant and rising threat to public health through obesity and poor nutrition, especially in affluent societies, which have caused a rise in non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, strokes, and cancers.
However the authors conclude that a combination of production-based 'push' factors and consumption-based 'pull' factors is needed to make food systems more sustainable, to provide a higher level of food security, and to encourage healthy eating habits. That means improving the efficiency of the food supply chain on the one hand, while encouraging sustainable food consumption on the other.
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More information: www.unep.org/publications/ebooks/avoidingfamines/