The escalating crisis of volatile food prices and food insecurity is the result of an industrial development model based on large-scale, export-orientated agriculture tied to international competition, self interest and stock market speculation. With over a billion people going hungry each day despite a huge surplus of food production, a reorientation towards more localised, smaller scale and sustainable agriculture is urgently required.
Today’s broken food system leaves nearly one billion people hungry, while unsustainable patterns of consumption and production threaten the planet’s ecosystems. Radical reform is required to build a sustainable future where the world’s resources are shared fairly, says a report by Oxfam.
In recent years, new structural causes of hunger have emerged, from land-grabbing to commodity speculation. Food security policy must be updated to ensure support for small-holder farmers and sustainable agricultural practices, says a report by Christian Aid.
About one third of food produced for humans is lost or wasted. Reducing systemic waste could have an immediate and significant impact on global food security, says a report commissioned by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Recent measures agreed to by signatories of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources to conserve and share the benefits of crop diversity have been met with concern by advocacy groups. Amendments must be made to protect the rights of small-farmers.
Recent scientific literature demonstrates that small-scale farmers can double food production within 10 years in critical regions by using agroecological methods. A fundamental shift towards agroecology could also address climate change and improve the situation of the poorest, says a report by Olivier De Schutter.
The social and political turmoil that has swept the Middle East is a pointer to a grave crisis ahead. If governing powers continue to turn a blind eye to commodity speculation and corporate dominance in the food system, more unrest is sure to follow, writes Devinder Sharma.
For decades, small-scale farmers have been marginalised by a globalising food system. With climate change and food sovereignty concerns now influencing the policy agenda, the importance of smallholder agriculture is gaining new recognition, says a paper by Sophia Murphy.