Feeding the world (Foodtank / New Agriculturist)


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Feeding the world: paradigm shift or incremental improvements?

by Robin Bourgeois, GFAR

A critical review of The Economists’ Conference “Feeding the World 2013, Accelerating Global Collaboration on Food Security”, Amsterdam, January 30, 2013.

In the quest to feed 9 billion people by 2050, “our salvation can only come from farmers,” said Sharon Dijksma, Dutch Minister of Agriculture, quoting Gandhi. Her opening remarks to The Economist‘s ‘Feeding the world 2013’ conference, held in Amsterdam in January, continued with three key messages: we need to double productivity while using half the inputs, reduce wastes in developing and developed countries, and develop a climate smart agriculture to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Such a view just does not go far enough. There’s a widely quoted ‘fact’ that production must increase by 70 per cent in order to feed 9 billion people, but it is a myth. It…

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