Fighting hunger today - Enough food for tomorrow
Global Food and Nutrition Security (FNS)
The sustainable answer from better balanced food systems and not just more food
FNS is a complex issue. Food production and losses, food consumption and dietary habits and adaptation of the food systems are the key dimensions to consider.
Production. To meet the growing demand is certainly not just a question of producing more food through expansion or intensification of the farming systems; land is limited, water is limited, carbon emission must be limited. The problem of future agriculture systems is to move towards more sustainable paths, less dependent from fossil fuel for mechanization, fertilizer and pesticides, less consumer of underground water (Agriculture consumes >70% of underground water) . As explained by Tim Benton, the more, more and more lead to unresolved issue as is demonstrated by the traffic in our congested roads where despite the increase in lines the traffic does nor decrease).
Food waste accounts for about one third (33%) of edible food produced annually; un-healthy over-consumption (which is associated with >20% of deaths globally) also reaches very high percentages in both industrial and developing countries. Excessive consumption of animal proteins (meat, milk, eggs) results in huge percentage of food being used as animal feed. So much savings are available if only a reduction of the transformation cost was accounted for.In the past agriculture capacity to produce more was assumed to result in cheaper food. By now we know that cheap food means poor quality, unhealthy junk food that results in different pathologies and affects life quality of millions of people. The importance of food quality and dietary habits in the FNS complex become paramount.
Food consumption and dietary habits are key elements for present and future FNS. Education of all sectors of the population and media campaign are to play major role. Often the deterioration of food habits is strictly linked to the lifestyle model that is imposed by a consume based economic system. Aggressive advertisement campaigns tend to associate happiness with high level of food consumption spreading a completely wrong message about food systems that are no longer sustainable.
Food systems differ in the different regions of the world. Rich people tend to eat too much highly refined food and too much animal proteins; to improve their health should adjust their food habits by eating less and diversify their diet towards less protein and refined food and eat more fiber, fresh fruits and vegetables. Poor people in rural areas tend to have not enough to eat and not enough protein, they should possibly eat more protein, but also fruit and vegetables. Poor people in urban areas which represents the largest fraction of the poor people often eat poor quality food which is the cheapest available.
Once again education has a vital role to play to adjust food systems and correct unbalances; however it is also true that unless mass awareness campaign are conducted for each one to be conscious of those factors and the food and agro-industry does not reconsider the fundamental value of food and accept a logic that must inevitably differ from profit maximization, the solution is far to be reached.
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