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Enough Is Enough: Challenging the chorus calling for dramatically increasing food production by Tristram Stuart

Enough Is Enough: Challenging the chorus calling for dramatically increasing food production by Tristram Stuart
6
Oct

Food insecurity is a global tragedy. More than 10% of humanity, almost 800 million people, are undernourished. Undernourishment particularly afflicts people in low-income countries, but even high-income countries, food insecurity is a major social issue. The problem is not how much food we will be able to produce, but rather that we are on course to continue misusing and wasting our food and food-producing resources, exacting irreparable harm to our planet’s life support systems. This is the one way we really do risk not being able to feed the world.

Food insecurity is a global tragedy. More than 10% of humanity, almost 800 million people, are undernourished. Undernourishment particularly afflicts people in low-income countries, but even high-income countries, food insecurity is a major social issue. In the US, 48.1 million Americans lived in food-insecure households, including more than 15 million children.

The assumed solution is to produce ever more food. Global thought leaders such as the UNFAO and the World Economic Forum argue (or just assume) that humanity “needs” 50% to 100% more food by 2050.

This is the wrong approach. It sounds like a manifesto for big food corporations who stand to profit from increased food sales. Increased demand benefits these companies. These benefits to Big Food — companies such as Nestle, General Mills, and Unilever — come at the expense of good public health. Companies like Coca-Cola sell drugs to children in branded goods laced with more sugar than is good for them to consume in a whole day.

Most people interpret the call for greater food production as a response to the urgent need to prevent hunger. However, most of the forecast increase in demand is to cater for an increase in demand for meat- and dairy-rich diets. Instead of assuming that we have to produce more to meet this demand, what if instead we focused on whittling some of the surplus consumption from countries that already consume and waste way more than is necessary?

The problem is not how much food we will be able to produce, but rather that we are on course to continue misusing and wasting our food and food-producing resources, exacting irreparable harm to our planet’s life support systems. This is the one way we really do risk not being able to feed the world.

MORE INFO

https://medium.com/@TristramStuart/enough-is-enough-d6851f8f7f84#.i76mv7ln9

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