News & Media :: Daily Log
Leadership in Action
Apr 21, 2010
Nearly every contemporary media report, speech, policy statement, and research report on global food security includes one or both of two projections -- that world food production must increase 50% by 2030 and double by 2050.
These projections have been repeated so many times, without challenge, that they have nearly become pillars of conventional wisdom. And so, the Soil Association's analysis comes none too soon.
For truth behind these projections, read the April 20, 2010 report Telling Porkies.
In brief, the Soil Association could find no definitive source of the projection that world food production must increase 50% by 2030.
An 2006 FAO report concluded that world food production must expand about 70% between 2006 and 2050, rather than 100%. The 30% difference is enormous -- and roughly equivalent to the total food production of the North American continent.
Increasing world food production by 70% will be a huge challenge. Reducing crop losses to pests (now about 30%), food spoilage and plate waste (now about 25% worldwide), and an incremental shift in diets toward whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and away from meat and dairy products will make it far easier to reach the goal of universal food security for all.
Brian Halweil's report from 2006 on how organic farming can feed the world describes in detail why high-input, energy intensive agricultural systems cannot possibly feed the world in 2030 or 2050, and why the farming system's of the future will embody the core principles of organic farming.