The global food system is disfunctional. People goes to bed hungry in some countries while others consume too many calories and throw away massive amounts of food. Opportunities to fix the broken food system are urgently needed
A global dietary transition that includes putting more local produce and a varied source of proteins on our plates is an opportunity to put people, planet and our common prosperity on a healthy track. It is new diets for the world.
Vast dissemination of advanced technological tools at an affordable price has meant that both large and small-scale farmers have new and more precise tools to produce more with less. It is smart farming to produce more with less.
From our farms to grocery stores to dinner tables, much of the food we grow is never eaten. Reducing food waste is an opportunity to innovate along the value chain.
Food is the fuel for life, allowing people to live in good health and with dignity. Food security is a prerequisite for building the next generation of human capital in any country, and the right to adequate food is an internationally recognized human right. But, for many, it remains a right only on paper. Even in a world of decreasing poverty, food insecurity persists. In 2014, more than 11 percent of people globally were food insecure.
Today, food insecurity is a problem of access rather than a question of production volumes. Soon, even with perfect global distribution in place, food supplies would not be sufficient to feed the world’s growing population. There is a need to find food for the equivalent of another India and another China in the next 50 years. And it cannot be found simply by increasing productivity. The world is approaching a food gap.
In low HDI countries, up to 40 percent of the available food is lost on farm or during handling and storage. As countries move up the HDI scale, the percentage of food wasted in production and storage declines, but the percentage wasted during consumption increases. In high HDI countries, up to 60 percent food is wasted in restaurants and homes.
An enormous amount of calories are used as animal feed to satisfy demand for protein-rich diets. The growth of the global middle class will accelerate this trend, with three billion people estimated to enter the global middle class by 2030. Meat consumption is projected to double from
2014 to 2040. More meat means more greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, which could triple by 2055, if current dietary trends and population growth continue. Crop yields are already reduced in some parts of the world due to climate change. Elevated ozone levels have caused losses of about 10 percent for wheat and soybeans. Global warming of more than 3 degrees will exceed the agriculture’s adaptive capacity.
Today’s food systems are global in nature but governed by numerous regional and bilateral trade agreements. The World Trade Organization is the grand idea of one unified trade regime levelling the playing field for all actors in global trade. But the world of trade is fragmenting rather than unifying. While annual WTO conferences continue, a myriad of bilateral and regional trade agreements is forming.
Fragmentation is to the detriment of food insecure countries, as weaker countries have less leverage in bilateral negotiations. UN agencies such as the World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) work to promote food security, but they bring with them a silo approach to the systemic problem of food insecurity.