Innovation alone is not enough to secure food supplies
Technical innovation must be matched by political will and social justice to ensure food security in the twenty first century, says Alex Evans.
Policymakers should use the recent fall in food prices as an opportunity to create a long-term, global strategy, argues Evans.
We need a twenty first century Green Revolution, he says — one that can shift agriculture from being input-intensive to become knowledge-intensive. Genetically modified crops may help, but so will more equitable approaches like soil fertility management.
But innovation on its own is not enough, says Evans. Developing countries also need more social protection systems — like food safety nets or school feeding programmes — and more resilient trade rules. Europe and the United States must reform their farm support policies.
And, argues Evans, people must face up to the global impacts of their actions — diets rich in meat and dairy products are resource-intensive, and some biofuels like corn-based ethanol are grossly inefficient.
A more productive, equitable and sustainable food system is within our reach — we need the commitment to grasp it.