Feeding the world is an enormous challenge. But research is commonly funded in small pots. Adam Staines wrestles this paradox.
In the UK there has been an intellectual battle to make the case for more food-related research. Though the increasing global population (9Bn by 2050) will need more food, the third of global food wasted, problems of western obesity and overeating, and well-stocked supermarkets – combined with stark imagery of European wine lakes and butter mountains from the 1980s – have made it an uphill task to persuade a sceptical western society we need more food, let alone more food research.
Continue reading Following the money: supporting food security science
Richard Tiffin looks back on one food security meeting and ahead to another.
It was great to be invited to join in a fascinating discussion on ‘Navigating the ‘Perfect Storm’: the international challenge of food, water and energy security’ at the Royal Geographical Society supported by WWF last Thursday, 9 February.
Continue reading Navigating the perfect storm: optimism for Rio +20
Produce more, impact less. This is the challenge that the NFU’s farmer and grower members have set themselves. It’s a big ask for farmers anywhere and at any time.
But as we prepare to enter the second decade of the 21st century, we are in what the Government Chief Scientist John Beddington famously called ‘the perfect storm’: farmers have to grow their crops and livestock in a way that achieves bigger yields and better quality. But we can’t massively increase our use of fertiliser, pesticides, water, energy. Using these inputs certainly has an impact on the farm balance sheet but it also has an impact on soils, air, water courses and biodiversity.
Continue reading A great opportunity for British farmers