A global food report has highlighted necessary steps to reducing food waste and closing the food gap to insure there is adequate food for every one, as the population is expected to reach almost 10 billion by 2050.
The World Resources Report: Creating a Sustainable Food Future reveals that meeting this challenge will require closing three gaps – a 56 per cent “food gap” between what was produced in 2010 and food that will be needed in 2050; a nearly 600 million-hectare “land gap” between global agricultural land area in 2010 and expected agricultural expansion by 2050; and an 11-gigaton “greenhouse gas mitigation gap” between expected emissions from agriculture in 2050 and the level needed to meet the Paris Agreement.
In a statement on July 17, World Resources Institute CEO Andrew Steer said millions of farmers, companies, consumers and every government on the planet will have to make changes to meet the global food challenge.
“At every level, the food system must be linked to climate strategies as well as ecosystem protections and economic prosperity.
“While the scale of the challenge is bigger than is often thought, the solutions we’ve identified have greater potential than many realise. There’s reason to be hopeful we can achieve a sustainable food future,” Steer said.
Produced by World Resources Institute in partnership with the World Bank, UN Environment, UN Development Programme, and the French agricultural research agencies CIRAD and INRA, the report outlines a menu of solutions to overhaul the way the world produces and consumes food to ensure a sustainable food system by 2050:
- Reduce growth in demand by cutting food loss and waste, eating healthier diets, and more;
- Increase food production without expanding agricultural land area via yield gains for both crops and livestock;
- Protect and restore natural ecosystems by reducing deforestation, restoring peatlands, andlinking yield gains with ecosystem conservation;
- Increase fish supply by improving aquaculture systems and better managing wild fisheries; and
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production through innovative technologies and farming methods.
The report also identifies a robust series of policies, innovations, and incentives that can take the solutions to scale.
Lead author of the report, Tim Searchinger, said technology will be one of the keys to the food system’s future success.
“There is no realistic potential to create a sustainable food future without major innovations. Industry is already creating exciting breakthroughs like feeds that suppress the formation of methane in cows’ stomachs. We need both more funding for research and development, and flexible regulations to give the private sector incentives to innovate,” Searchinger said.