New and holistic way of thinking and acting required to meet environmental challenges

Photo credit: FAO

A Nepali woman returns from her fields. The straw will be used to make rugs and feed livestock

FAO leader calls for change in the way we produce food

We need to change the way we produce food,” FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said today in a World Environment Day speech advocating creating positive connections between food, agriculture and the environment.

Governments, citizens, producers and investors must forge a “new and holistic way of thinking and, of course, acting” to face down climate change and feed a growing population, he said at the Expo 2015 in Milan.

He cited two guiding principles – ensuring everyone has access to food, and making our food systems sustainable – as critical to the effort to feed the world’s growing population while conserving the the health of soils and other natural resources that human life needs to flourish.

While more food production will be needed to feed the two billion additional people expected by 2050, the main cause of hunger is related to access — enough food is available, but poor families lack resources to buy or produce the food they need. That’s a point that FAO is stressing as global challenges shift from the need for increased production during the postwar era to a new paradigm based on better ways to leverage limited resources.

Sustainability is central because “we are seven billion dreams, sharing only one planet,” Graziano da Silva said at an event also attended by Gianluca Galletti, Italy’s environment minister, and Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme.  The day’s thematic slogan, “Consume with care,” underscores the extreme importance of how we handle food, he added.

Food lost and wasted could feed a third of the world’s hungry, instead of misuse of labor, water, energy and other inputs, he noted.

Read the full article: FAO

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Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.