Free Trade And Science To Feed World If Politicians Get Out The Way
The world will not be able to feed itself without destroying the planet unless a transformation on the scale of the industrial revolution takes place, a major government report has concluded.
No single solution exists, says the report, but it is critical to spread existing knowledge and technology to the developing world to boost yields by "sustainable intensification". Dramatically reducing food waste is also crucial. "Thirty per cent of all food produced is never consumed," said Charles Godfray, at the University of Oxford and another report author. Investing in better trucks, roads and infrastructure is vital to getting food to people before it rots. In rich countries, such as the UK, preventing food being unnecessarily thrown away could save a family £500-700 a year, said Godfray.
There is a place for organic agriculture, found the report, but it "should not be adopted as the main strategy to achieve sustainable and equitable global food security". Scenarios suggesting organic production can satisfy future global demand assume major changes in peoples' diets, which "may be unachievable," says the report.
The report stated that new technologies, such as genetically modified crops and cloned livestock, should not be excluded on ethical or moral grounds, but that investment is "essential in the light of the magnitude of the challenges."
"We need to act now," said Caroline Spelman, the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, whose department co-commissioned the report from the government's futures thinktank Foresight. "Farmers have to grow more food at less cost to the environment."
Spelman emphasised the role of free markets and of consumers: "We must open up markets by removing subsidies and stopping protectionism." She said the biggest step forward in tackling food security would be a successful end for the stalled Doha trade talks, which began in 2001, adding that reform of the EU's common agricultural policy should encourage climate and wildlife protection.
In the UK, farmers should produce "more food more sustainably" and she suggested that small price increases represented an economic opportunity for British farmers.
A coffee table glossy report which seems on skimming to be on the right track, which is a miracle these days.
We know the answers to the problem of hunger, it is only politicians and campaigners who are holding back the free trade and science that they are. And so it is miraculous for campaigning politicians to acknowledge this simple truth.
Of course the tofu munchers are already up in arms as are the poverty professionals, what would they do without the poor and hungry?