There is more than enough food to feed our current population. There is even enough to provide for the billions of souls that will soon join us on this planet. Outlined below are 4 steps that can help us get there!
Step 1: STOP FOOD WASTE
There are currently 1 billion people on the planet facing hunger. These individuals aren’t isolated to developing countries. USA, one of the most developed countries on Earth, has a population in which 1 in 6 adults and 1 in 5 children face hunger. This country also wastes about 30-40% of its food, which is similar to the global average where 1/3 of all food is wasted. If we can collect all this food, we can feed the hungry 4 times! Read a case study about food waste in the Spanish retail sector to learn more.
Step 2: EAT LESS MEAT
Not only does meat take a lot of resources to grow, but livestock feeds on a large percentage of cereals. If the land that is currently used to grow crops for livestock was instead channeled towards human consumption, an additional 4 billion people would be fed! A new study by the University of Minnesota shows that even a small shift of crops from livestock or bio-fuels towards human consumption would improve global food security.
Step 3: BE MORE EFFICIENT
Wasting food leads to wasted resources. Agriculture is using 28% of land to grow food that is wasted (this also includes resources such as energy, water and labor). All this waste means that agriculture is responsible for 20-35% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The new study also highlighted that 60% of nitrogen and almost 50% of phosphorus applications exceeded the norms that are necessary for crop growth. This pollutes our environment. And finally, considering that only 1% of water on the planet is available for drinking, using our limited resources in a more efficient way will help long-term food security. With more efficient and improved irrigation techniques farmers can reduce water demands by 8-15% without compromising their food production.
Step 4: CLOSE THE YIELD GAP
There area areas of our planet where agriculture has the potential to produce more food than is currently being produced. These areas are known to have ‘yield gaps‘. With improved practices and technology these areas can increase production rates. A new portal, created with the partnership of University of Nebraska, Water for Food and Wageningen, gives an analysis of this problem. The above mentioned study showed that if we close even 50% of these gaps, there will be enough calories to feed an additional 850 million people. More than half of the areas are in Africa, as well as, Asia and Eastern Europe.