4: Reduced meat consumption and less food waste are good
However, there is great controversy as to whether global production really needs to increase so drastically – in line with expected population growth. This includes, among other things, “business as usual”, i.a. other when it comes to the demand for meat . The demand for meat will probably increase since there will be more middle-class people globally and as a result of increased income and urbanization – all with increased expectations and demands.
The largest increase is expected in Asia. Global meat production is expected to increase by 90% by 2050. Production of feed for livestock currently represents 36% of global calorie production, and 53% of plant protein production. For 1 kg of industrial livestock production, an average of 6 kg of plant protein is included as feed . If the amount of calories used to feed livestock in the United States, China, Western Europe and Brazil instead were used directly for human consumption, it would provide enough food for 2.4 billion people. Reduced meat consumption will therefore be able to significantly improve global food security.
According to topb2bwebsites.com, many analyzes also indicate that all the food thrown away in the United States, China and India alone could feed 416 million people. A study from the UK shows that approx. 20% of the food bought there is thrown away. Food waste as a result of inadequate storage and disposal of food makes up one third of the total global food production. In other words, less food waste will be able to improve food safety.
The global food systems are today controlled by large food chains that produce cheap food without paying enough attention to the costs of deteriorating or ruined environment or to large food waste. Better – more efficient and sustainable – food systems will be able to improve food safety. Research is currently being carried out on insects as an alternative source of protein and on increasing food production in urban areas by improving land use, something that can also increase food security.
5: Challenges for global food security
Soil and water (plus sunlight) are the most important natural resources needed to produce food. Both soil and water are limiting factors. Agricultural area for cultivation is limited. It is possible to increase the agricultural area somewhat, but this will increase deforestation in Africa, Latin America and Asia and lead to large emissions of greenhouse gases. Soil erosion will also increase because the best soil has already been cultivated, and soil that can be newly cultivated will often be more vulnerable to soil erosion – it is often more exposed to.
Growing biofuels reduces the opportunities for increasing food production. The greatest attention has been paid to how the cultivation of maize and halibut for biofuels affects global food prices. But the discussion has also revolved around how the cultivation of biofuels affects local food production in low-income countries. Most investments in biofuels are made in countries with major problems with hunger and malnutrition. Large private acquisitions of land deprive farmers of rights to land and water and can thus hinder local food production.
In addition, climate change will limit the amount of food that can be produced. They have already reduced halibut and maize crops by approx. 4–5% in some African countries. Reduced grain production and increased prices can have major consequences for poor consumers in many countries.
Industrial countries can buy the food they need, but for most African countries this is difficult with their far weaker purchasing power. The strong price week for grain in 2008 and 2011 was a clear reminder of this. It led to increased poverty and uprisings in several parts of the world and helped trigger the Arab Spring.
Conflicts, crises and natural disasters increase in number and intensity. This has a major impact on food security – more poverty, hunger, migration and a greater need for humanitarian aid are some of the effects. On average, the proportion of malnourished people in low-income countries who experience long-term crises is approx. three times higher than in other low-income countries.
6: Climate-smart and sustainable agriculture
Future productivity growth to meet an increasing need for food will have to take place in a more disability-friendly and changing climate. At the same time, agriculture itself contributed greatly to global warming. Today, a lot is being invested in developing a climate-smart agriculture. This means that an agricultural system can be developed that combines increased productivity and adaptation to climate change, with reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
A climate-smart agriculture seeks to achieve greater productivity in agriculture and provide better access to food locally and globally, by streamlining land use and resources . This is done by developing technology and methods that make farmers less vulnerable to climate variations and give them better tools to deal with a different climate.
At the same time, one wants to develop an agriculture that is environmentally friendly and economically viable. The biggest problems with developing climate-resilient solutions for food production are found in vulnerable areas where food production is carried out by poor small farmers. They are often completely dependent on soil and natural resources to survive.
Poverty and poverty will often force them to think about short-term survival from day to day and not long-term sustainability. In such areas, rising temperatures and greater variation in precipitation will lead to uncertain food production, worsen living conditions and, combined with other factors, lead to a greater risk of food crises and famine disasters. This is especially true in some countries south of the Sahara and in Asia.
In a report on Africa – ” Towards a Food Secure Future ” (2012) – the production week for small farmers is highlighted, and then especially female small farmers, as one of the main keys to food security in Africa. Today there is talk of feminization of agriculture in many parts of the world. However, the right of small farmers, including women, to land, access to and control over necessary resources, institutions and markets and a policy that contributes to this, will be crucial for climate-smart agriculture to contribute to increased food security and reduced poverty. Small farmers today produce 50% of the food in the world; they also make up 50% of the world’s poor population.
7: Are there alternatives?
All over the world, people have developed and mobilized alternatives to industrial and resource-intensive food production and to the large food chains that control most of the international food trade.
Mobilization for food sovereignty has become an alternative to export-oriented agricultural production and to the concept of food security. Food safety describes a situation where all people should have enough food. Food sovereignty also covers access to food – but in addition there are topics such as where the food comes from and what conditions it is grown under . International trade is here subordinated to a policy that secures food for its own population before food exports can take place.
Rørsla Via Campesina has mobilized small farmers and their allies around the world so that local people have the right to control their own food systems, including markets, ecological resources including genetic resources, production methods and food cultures. The goal is the right to healthy and culturally acceptable food, produced in organic and sustainable production systems. Less global trade and more local control are important focus areas. The vision is set out in the “Nyeleni Declaration” from 2007.
Also different agro-ecological approaches to food production based on great biological diversity on the individual farm, the most possible use of local resources and the least possible use of artificial fertilizers. After a quarter of an hour, local knowledge and short-distance food have become more widespread and supported – as a counterweight to the highly industrialized agricultural production.
In several countries, social programs have been implemented to increase food security and reduce poverty. These are public programs that offer money or materials to poor sections of the population. The program “Bolsa Familia” in Brazil is perhaps the most famous; this transfers funds to poor families, who have thus got more food on the table. Also in India, legislative changes and social programs have provided more food to the poor.
Challenges for the future are to optimize crops and input factors without letting this affect health, the environment, natural resources or the sustainability of agricultural systems. The needs of the future can be met by intensifying the work of making agriculture more sustainable. This means better resistance to plant diseases, adaptation to climate change, reduced use of water and fertilizers, work and fossil fuels.
Larger crops can be achieved with less land area and less use of water for irrigation (including less waste). Increased production per area unit is possible without deteriorating the environment. In particular, it is possible to increase crops in areas where agriculture is characterized by little effort of technology and work.
The earth can thus produce enough food for an increasing population and in a sustainable way. But this involves extensive changes in how food production and food systems are set up and work. Resource-intensive agricultural systems based on high use of input factors, have led to deforestation, water shortages, soil erosion, reduced biological diversity and high emissions of greenhouse gases. These systems cannot deliver viable solutions for the future (FAO 2017).
Implementation of policies to better ensure the right to food, development of local and fair food systems, reduced CO2 emissions and food waste also have an important role to play. These challenges can only be met with a concerted effort from farmers, national and international agricultural research, politicians, the private sector and development actors who work together to develop solutions.