Cary Fowler, in the latest issue of the Enews from the Global Crop Diversity Trust, argues that previously hidden national vulnerabilities were exposed in the 2007-8 global food price crisis. He says that crisis revealed weaknesses in national security, weaknesses that many capital-rich but land-poor countries are addressing by buying up farmland in developing countries in hopes of ensuring their own national food security in the coming decades.
Fowler warns that if our food systems are to feed the fast-changing world in 2050, even oil-rich states must do more than go on buying sprees for croplands. We must start to work now and we must start to think newly. That requires agricultural research. But conversations on what research should be doing to ensure the world’s food supply will be largely absent at this year’s big global meetings such as the high-level expert forum on How to Feed the World in 2050 being held in Rome 12-13 October and the United Nation’s huge Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen December 7-18. The global commitments for undertaking the needed agricultural research to develop the new food systems that we need, Fowler says, are likely to be just as paltry.