Feeding the World Sustainably: Reflections, Issues, and Suggestions
Ensuring global food security is a major challenge, but it is not beyond the ken of human ingenuity and determination. Through sustainable and equitable systems of production and consumption, we must meet the needs of the world’s current 6.7 billion inhabitants, as well as the additional 2 to 3 billion expected in coming decades, while recognizing the challenges posed by changing diets and continued production on stressed environmental systems. We must accomplish this using roughly the same amount of land and water as we use today.
Knowledge will be key. Research and dissemination of current best practices will show how to close yield gaps, how to produce more for less, how to improve management and reduce waste along the entire supply chain, and how not to confuse the urgent necessity of humanitarian aid with the fundamentally important developmental questions of transforming global agriculture and the food-processing and distribution system. With these actions, we can face the exciting prospect of finally abolishing hunger in our lifetime.
The Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus has become widely known for his theories published in the early 19th century that sooner or later population gets checked by famine and disease. Since then the debate is on whether our planet can sustainably feed an ever growing population: important questions that are at the crossroad of food policy and demography. We are grateful for Montague (Monty) Yudelman who initiated and supports this lecture series organized once a year by the International Food Policy Research Institute and The Population Reference Bureau.