By Lucas Johnson
October 16 is World Food Day, and gives the global community an opportunity to strengthen its efforts to end hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
Here are some of the things you need to know…
The Problems Today…
1. Water tables are falling
2. Soil is eroding
3. Global temperatures are rising
4. Food security is becoming more unstable
5. Securing future food supplies has become incredibly complex. It may now depend more on policies in the ministry of health and family planning or of energy than in the ministry of agriculture itself.
6. Three billion people are consuming more grain-intensive livestock and poultry products
7. Aquifer depletion now threatens harvests in the big three grain producers — China, India and the United States — that together produce half of the world’s grain.
8. Not eating at all on some days is how the world’s poorest are coping with the doubling of world grain prices since 2006.
9. Even as we face new constraints on future production, the world population is growing by 80 million people each year.
10. The world’s growth in irrigation has come to a near standstill, expanding only 10 percent between 2000 and 2010.
11. Nearly a third of the world’s cropland is losing topsoil faster than new soil is forming, reducing the land’s inherent fertility.
12. The agricultural system is more and more out of sync with the climate system.
13. At no time since agriculture began has the world faced such a predictably massive threat to food production as that posed by the melting mountain glaciers of Asia.
14. After several decades of raising grain yields, farmers in the more agriculturally advanced countries have recently hit a glass ceiling for both rice and wheat crops.
The world’s food security is in a very difficult situation, and demands leadership on this important issue. We are not looking at 2030 or 2050. We are looking at an abrupt disruption in the world food supply that could be just one poor harvest away.