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Video transcript: What is food security?

The food security challenge

Introduction
The world population is expected to increase 50% by 2050 and with 3 billion extra mouths to feed food production has to increase to prevent a repeat of the price rises of 2008.

Professor Ian Crute, Chief Scientist, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board
Food security really means everybody having a sufficient access to food for a healthy diet and effectively not to have anxiety about where their next meal is coming from.

Narrative
Food shortages have led to price rises that, in some countries, have even toppled Governments.  The UK imports more than 30% of its food and this figure is rising.  As a food trading nation the world’s food problems are Britain’s problems.

Professor Philip Lowe, Programme Director, Centre for Rural Economy
We depend on extended food supply chains that expand the globe and are vulnerable to war, to outbreaks of animal or plant diseases. We’ve got to think about the vulnerabilities of our extended food supply chains.

Narrative
Today, over a billion people are chronically under nourished.  Food demand is set to double by the year 2050.  Using more land is not a viable option.

Professor Ian Crute, Chief Scientist, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board
If you cultivate more land, you have impact on climate change, forests are removed, grassland is ploughed; this is not the right solution.  The right solution is to increase our productivity on a per hectare or an area basis.

Professor Douglas Kell, Chief Executive, BBSRC
In the middle of the 19th century wheat yields were 1 tonne per hectare, now its eight times as much.  We need to double them again and we know we can do that because we’ve seen it happen with maize in the USA and now we need to do it with wheat in the UK.  We also need to make sure that the plants and animals we grow for agricultural reasons are resistant to diseases.  There are examples of many nasty diseases endemic and exotic that are having bad effects on agricultural yields often taking them down by 15 or 25%.

Narrative
Our mission must be to improve all aspects of sustainable food production using the same amount of land.

Professor Ian Crute, Chief Scientist, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board
We need to ensure that we are investing appropriately in water capture and in irrigation capability particularly in those parts of the world where water is short.  We need to ensure we are looking after our soils and that we are investing in soil science, crop nutrition and soil management practices and the other area then which is critical is plant and animal breeding. 

Professor Douglas Kell, Chief Executive, BBSRC
New science, new genetics, genomics, genome sequencing, modern plant breeding techniques – all of these are going to help to do that.

Narrative
To deliver the food security agenda we must collaborate across disciplines and across borders.

Professor Ian Crute, Chief Scientist, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board
This is a huge endeavour which is going to require more than science.  It is a communication and a transfer process - how we actually put into the hands of farmers, knowledge for improved practices.

Professor Douglas Kell, Chief Executive, BBSRC
What is the solution in the UK will be different from what is a solution in Africa, USA, France and the Far East.  The crops are different, the climatic conditions are different and we each have to talk to each other.

Professor Philip Lowe, Programme Director, Centre for Rural Economy
It’s a complex issue of science, technology and social and economic change.

Narrative
Science can provide many of the answers.  But it’s crucial it works hand in hand with industry so research can be translated to the field.

Professor Philip Lowe
We’ve got a choice.  We either start to put things right now and we overcome some of the great inequalities of food production and distribution or we have a world in which we have hunger sitting beside problems of obesity.

Professor Douglas Kell, Chief Executive, BBSRC
The food security agenda is a global problem.

www.foodsecurity.ac.uk

ENDS