'Smarter and efficient agriculture only way forward'

FAO head says competition for resources and energy necessitates a paradigm shift in farming

By Rajit Sengupta
Published: Tuesday 20 January 2015

imageThe world has to change the way it grows food to match the increasing competition for natural resource, FAO director-general José Graziano da Silva said at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture in Berlin.

“Business as usual would mean a huge and simultaneous increase in the need for food, energy and water in the next decades: 60 per cent more food, 50 per cent more energy and 40 per cent more water by 2050,” said Graziano da Silva.

FAO estimates point to the need to increase food production by 60 per cent by 2050 to feed a population that will top the 9 billion mark. To address the challenge of feeding more people while using fewer resources, concerted efforts and investments are needed, according to Graziano da Silva.

He said that climate change and increasing competition between food and non-food agricultural products such as bioenergy have made the challenges of feeding the future more complex.  “We need to move from the food versus fuel debate to a food and fuel debate. There is no question: food comes first,” he said, adding: “But biofuels should not be simply seen as a threat or as a magical solution. Like anything else, they can do good or bad.”

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