So what needs to be done to achieve the SDG target? The solution will involve addressing a whole host of issues, from gender parity and ageing demographics, to skills development and global warming. Agriculture will need to become more productive and greener.
Why is food security such a major global challenge?
The obvious reason is that everybody needs food. But the complexity of delivering sufficient food to a national population and to the whole world’s population shows why food security is such a priority for all countries, whether developing or developed.
In short, this is a global challenge because it’s not just about food and feeding people, but also about practically all aspects of an economy and society.
3. Climate change – currently, 40% of the world’s landmass is arid, and rising temperatures will turn yet more of it into desert. At current rates, the amount of food we’re growing today will feed only half of the population by 2050.
Addressing the problem of hunger and malnourishment in an economy such as India’s requires improvements in the productivity of the agriculture sector, particularly smallholder farms. Rural and farming communities typically experience a higher incidence of poverty and hunger.
Two billion people in the world currently suffer from malnutrition and according to some estimates, we need 60% more food to feed the global population by 2050. Yet the agricultural sector is ill-equipped to meet this demand: 700 million of its workers currently live in poverty, and it is already responsible for 70% of the world’s water consumption and 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
New technologies could help our food systems become more sustainable and efficient, but unfortunately the agricultural sector has fallen behind other sectors in terms of technology adoption.
Launched in 2018, the Forum’s Innovation with a Purpose Platform is a large-scale partnership that facilitates the adoption of new technologies and other innovations to transform the way we produce, distribute and consume our food.
With research, increasing investments in new agriculture technologies and the integration of local and regional initiatives aimed at enhancing food security, the platform is working with over 50 partner institutions and 1,000 leaders around the world to leverage emerging technologies to make our food systems more sustainable, inclusive and efficient.
In 2007 and into the first half of 2008, global food prices increased sharply stirring social unrest and riots in both developing and developed economies, from Bangladesh to Brazil, from Mexico to Mozambique. This prompted the World Economic Forum and its partners, members and other constituents to define, in 2009, a New Vision for Agriculture (NVA); the aim continues to be to achieve, through market-based public-private approaches, 20% improvement in food security, environmental sustainability and economic opportunities every decade till 2050.
The World Economic Forum’s action portfolio of locally driven public-private partnerships under the NVA has mobilized over $10 billion, with some $1.2 billion already implemented, reaching nearly 3.6 million smallholder farmers.
The Forum also launched the Food Action Alliance, a coalition of organisations working together to strengthen the impact of agricultural value chains to produce food efficiently and sustainably, as well as the Food Innovation Hubs, which are regional platforms designed to enable technology and innovations to meet local needs. In addition, Uplink’s Future of Protein initiative is calling for innovative projects to accelerate progress toward accessible, affordable, healthy and sustainable protein.
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