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World’s Future Food Security “in Jeopardy” Due to Multiple Challenges, Report Warns

05:40 EST 22 Feb 2017 | Meridian Institute

A new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), “The Future of Food and Agriculture: Trends and Challenges,” released on Wednesday, warns that mankind’s ability to feed itself is in jeopardy due to intensifying pressures on natural resources, mounting inequality and climate change. While there has been real and significant progress in reducing global hunger, "expanding food production and economic growth have often come at a heavy cost to the natural environment," the report states. FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva writes in the report’s introduction, "planetary boundaries may well be surpassed, if current trends continue.” Climate change, the report says, “will affect every aspect of food production.” The report states the planet’s food systems are capable of sustainably producing enough food for the burgeoning world population, but doing so will require “major transformations.” Without a push to invest in and retool food systems, the FAO warns, the world will be unable to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of eradicating chronic food insecurity and malnutrition by 2030. "Without additional efforts to promote pro-poor development, reduce inequalities and protect vulnerable people, more than 600 million people would still be undernourished in 2030," it says. The core challenges, according to the report, is to produce more with less. "High-input, resource-intensive farming systems, which have caused massive deforestation, water scarcities, soil depletion and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, cannot deliver sustainable food and agricultural production," adds the report. The world must shift to more sustainable food systems that are more efficient in their use of land, water and other inputs, while also sharply reducing their use of fossil fuels. To do so, more investment in agriculture and agrifood systems is necessary, as is greater spending on research and development.

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