Enough on our plates
Global food security is a policy priority of the Dutch government. Currently, some 870 million people do not get enough to eat: theoretically, there is enough food to go around, it’s just not divided equally. Moreover, we’ll need to produce 70 per cent more food in 2050 than we do now.
So how should we go about it? Putting all our efforts into boosting food production won’t completely solve the problem. Our natural resources are limited, we have to deal with climate change and we need to find arable land. We’ll certainly need to boost production but it must be done sustainably, mostly in Africa and Asia. It means we’ll need to produce twice as much with half the resources – no pressure then!
There’s also the problem of inequality. Financial growth in many countries will enable more people to buy food with the right nutritional level; while millions of people may not be going short of food they are not eating food of the right nutritional value. Then there’s obesity, which is already a growing problem in western countries and now starting to become one in developing countries too.
Our burgeoning world population means we’ll have to produce more food and contend with dietary shifts. As more people raise their living standards, they will consume more meat and dairy products. This will substantially impact food production. We also need to consider efficiency; there is huge wastage in the food chain. For example, a third of food production is lost, starting at the farm, meaning it doesn’t even reach the consumer. Yet another high-priority challenge for our agendas.