Ecological agriculture is the most viable way to feed us all

Photo credit: NZ Herald

One third of global food production (1.3 billion tonnes) is wasted and never consumed. Photo / Getty Images

The obstacles to food security worldwide

By Rebecce Reider

With forecasts of nine billion people on the planet by 2050, food production will have to be up to the job. Here’s how.

The very phrase “feeding the world” conjures up the idea of grand centralised plans. But research shows that, in spite of industrial agriculture’s most grandiose claims, ecological agriculture is the most viable way to feed us all.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation claims that to feed nine billion of us well in the year 2050, as people become more affluent, global agricultural production will need to increase by 70 per cent. Various critics dispute this claim.

“Do we have the protocols or recipes to do it? Definitely,” says Steve Wratten, Professor of Ecology at Lincoln University. “But getting governments to adopt it has a major barrier – international corporations.”

As a scientist, Wratten has spent a long and successful career developing ways to control pest insects with ecological tactics instead of synthetic pesticides. Yet, he insists, the biggest obstacles to food security worldwide are not scientific; they’re political: “Monsanto’s vision is to dominate the world food market.”

 

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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