Agriculture / Food Security

Our food system is failing half the people, overfed and underfed, on the planet

The world’s food system is failing half of the people on the planet. That’s the disturbing conclusion of the Global Farming & Futures Report, which synthesizes findings collected from more than 400 scientists and 34 countries. The British government’s Department for Business Innovation & Skills published the document in January.

‘Economic inequality among nations and other factors have contributed to a global food system whereby a billion people are hungry or lack access to sufficient amounts of macronutrients such as carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

‘Another billion suffer from “hidden hunger” or lack crucial vitamins and minerals from their diet.

‘Meanwhile, another billion are “substantially over-consuming” and spawning a new public health epidemic involving chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and widespread cardiovascular disease.

‘The report, which was prepared by the research firm Foresight on behalf of the British government, also predicts that the cost of food worldwide will rise sharply in coming decades, increasing the likelihood of food-based conflicts and migration. It warns that people won’t be able to feed themselves without destroying the planet unless we can transform the global food system on the scale of the industrial revolution.

‘”The global food system is spectacularly bad at tackling hunger or at holding itself to account,” Lawrence Haddad, director of the Institute of Development Studies and an author of the report, told the UK’s Guardian.

”The report warns that an expanding world population that is already overexploiting its natural resources is a recipe for disaster, especially given the onset of climate change.

‘”Farmers have to grow more food at less cost to the environment,” said Caroline Spelman of the UK’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which commissioned the report.

‘That may sound simple, but many factors determine if production of a given food is economically viable.

‘Fixing the global food system will be no small task. . . .’

Read the whole article at the Westerly Sun: Global food system needs to change, 10 April 2011.

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