Securing food supplies up to 2050: the challenges faced by the UK

Securing food supplies

House of Commons, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Securing food supplies up to 2050: the challenges faced by the UK

Fourth Report of Session 2008–09, Volume I Securing_food_supplies

The world faces what one of our witnesses described as “an unprecedented double challenge”: it needs to produce more food, but in a way that does not degrade the natural resources on which agricultural depends, and which decreases the food chain’s reliance on fossil fuels and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Meeting this challenge will require a fundamental shift in thinking about food, on the part of Governments and consumers.

Two projections voiced at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s “World Food Security” conference in June 2008 attracted particular attention. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, announced that food production would need to increase by 50% by 2030 to meet rising demand and the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Jacques Diouf, stated that food production would need to double by 2050 to feed a world population of 9 billion. It is important to bear in mind that these are projections rather than targets. They are a useful way of focusing attention on food production. However, they should also be used to draw attention to population growth, diet and waste at all stages of the food chain, and the need for policy responses in these areas. More information is needed about future patterns of consumption: what will be required is not simply an increase in production across the world, but an increase in the production of particular commodities to meet demand in particular parts of the world. 

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