Food production cannot ensure food security, says FAO head
Increasing production has for long been seen as the natural pathway to ending hunger, but today even though the world produces enough food to feed everyone, hunger remains a problem, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said at the International Forum on Agriculture and Climate Change, held in Paris on February 20. At least 805 million still go without enough food on a regular basis, pointed out FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.
"Since food production is not a sufficient condition for food security, it means that the way we are producing is no longer acceptable," said Graziano da Silva. “What we are still mostly seeing is a model of production that cannot prevent the degradation of soils and the loss of biodiversity, both of which are essential goods, especially for future generations. This model must be reviewed. We need a paradigm shift. Food systems need to be more sustainable, inclusive and resilient," he added.
Agriculture has a potentially large role to play not only in guaranteeing food security but also in building resilience to the affects of climate change and in reducing humankind's emissions of global warming gases, according to the FAO head. “The impacts of climate change are no longer an anticipated threat. They are now a crystal-clear reality right before our eyes,” he warns, adding: “Climate change will not only affect food production but also the availability of food and the stability of supplies. And in a global, interdependent economy, climate change makes the global market for agricultural products less predictable and more volatile."
In his remarks, the FAO Director-General underscored the important role played by healthy soils. "Soil hosts at least one quarter of the world's biodiversity and is key in the carbon cycle. They help us to mitigate and adapt to climate change," he said. 2015 has been designated by the UN General Assembly as the International Year of soils, and FAO is the lead agency for coordinating the year's activities.
Global food security index 2014: an annual measure of the state of global food security